Back pain is second only to stress as the most common cause of long-term sickness absences among UK employees. At the same time, 70 per cent of carers suffer back or shoulder pain.
These grim figures were reported last week by BackCare, the charity for healthier backs, to mark Back Care Awareness Week. But the good news is that problems can be largely avoided by taking simple precautions like:
Wearing flat shoes with cushioned soles
Avoiding sudden movements
Reducing stress, anxiety and tension
Staying active with regular exercise such as walking and swimming
Correct handling and lifting
Carers have a vital role in looking after the wellbeing of others, often to the detriment of their own health. Therefore, it’s important that carers look after their own backs by following these simple tips.
NHS Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Group did its bit during Back Care Awareness Week by joining with Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce in asking employers to make sure that office furniture and equipment does not cause back pain. They also urged employers to seek advice from BackCare.
Nationally, 35 million working days are lost every year to musculoskeletal disorders including backache while the cost to business is estimated at a staggering £7.6bn a year.
Absence for whatever reason impacts on all businesses. Available evidence suggests that the bigger the company the more sick days workers will take but it is in smaller firms that the absence has the greater impact as there is less likelihood of having staff available to cover the absent person’s work.
It is essential that proper ergonomic studies are carried out, whatever the industry, to reduce the risk of work-related injury, which can include backache.