Back Pain dismissed

Invisible back pain dismissed by others says survey

The challenges with dealing with an invisible illness have been highlighted once again, this time in a survey that reveals that 67% of the 2,000 respondents said some of their family, friends and colleagues fail to recognise the seriousness of their condition, simply because they cannot see it.

The survey by backpainhelp.com, backs previous reports of people with invisible illnesses, disabilities or chronic pain saying they are treated as malingerers because they look healthy on the outside.

Some 81% of respondents in the survey (84% female and 78% male) say they have suffered from back pain, with 27% having visited a GP or healthcare professional about the problem in the past year alone. Another 37% of those who suffered from back pain admitted they have never mentioned the condition to their GP at all.

Although so many people suffer from back pain, it seems they are loathe to invest in medication or treatment for it, with 33% admitting to spending only £25 or under all year, 12% forking out £26-50, 6% investing £51-100 and just 2% spending over £100.

This is despite the fact that 58% of those questioned in the survey said we all need to proactively manage and treat our back pain to prevent damage and one in five admitting their doctor can only do so much and they should consider alternative treatments.

However, respondents also indicated they needed more information on back health (40%), easier access to back health care (29%), more education (32%), information on exercises and stretches (39%) and drug free products (18%).

The backpainhelp.com survey also asked respondents what was causing their back pain. Heavy shoulder bags (36%) were the greatest cause among females with office work stations coming second at 33%. Office work stations were cited as the worst offenders among men (28%) with watching TV coming a close second at 26%.

The last few years especially has also seen the rise of chatter in health circles about sitting disease, and the survey confirmed that over seven million* people are sitting for nine hours or more a day, despite health risks such as diabetes, back pain, osteoporosis, anxiety and depression.

Some 21% confessed to sitting between seven and eight hours per day; 32% between five and six hours; 26% between three and four hours and only seven per cent sat under two hours. The average amount of time people sat per day was a lengthy five hours and 34 minutes.

The medical profession is now encouraging people to stand up and move more. This has been backed by guidance published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine¹, which recommended office workers should be on their feet for a minimum of two hours a day during working hours.

For the both sexes, back pain also has a detrimental effect on their emotional well being with 33% admitting to being short tempered and 31% being stressed when they were suffering.

Mark Critchley, spokesperson for backpainhelp.com said: “Admittedly, there are lots of people out there with back pain who could be doing more to help themselves, but it must be taken sersiously by all, GP’s and patients included. Untreated back pain can progress to nerve problems or degenerative spine conditions, but good advice from healthcare professionals to exercise, rest, use medication or try supports like the ones offered by bac< can make all the difference.”

*64.6 million people in the UK of which 50.6 million are adults so 14% is 7,093,333.

¹ http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2015/04/23/bjsports-2015-094618.abstract

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