By Massage Therapy Canada staff
It looks like back pain is affecting more men in their younger years, according to a new report from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA).
A consumer research study conducted by the BCA determined that the average age when men feel the strain of back and neck pains is 37. The study surveyed 2,127 U.K. adults of which 908 were men between the ages of 16 and 55+.
By Massage Therapy Canada staff
Findings from the research found that four in five (82 per cent) men in the U.K. say they currently live with neck or back pain or have suffered in the past compared to 75 per cent just a year ago. Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) feel pain every day.
Moving heavy objects is the top trigger for almost half (47 per cent) of men, however 41 per cent admit they don’t do anything to proactively look after their backs and 28 per cent opt to self-treat with over-the-counter medicine.
Some men are putting the strain down to their size; 14 per cent think having a big belly has the most negative impact on their back health compared to just six per cent of women, but according to the experts, this is not necessarily the case.
BCA chiropractor, Rishi Loatey said: “The modern man is certainly feeling the strain as we constantly juggle busy lives – working longer hours, tackling DIY and looking after the kids – it all takes its toll, but worryingly we’re seeing younger men coming through our doors who aren’t looking after themselves.
“There is however, no real correlation between weight and back pain, rather the link is between poor muscle tone and back pain – people who are overweight do tend to have poor muscle tone so it’s important they focus on strengthening the muscles in their back.”
Loatey encouraged this demographic to seek help from health-care professionals when experiencing pain for more than a couple of days. “Like with most things, prevention is better than cure… Don’t be tempted to self-treat with over the counter-medicine for a prolonged period of time as this may be masking the symptoms rather than resolving the problem.”
The BCA offered the following tips for the 21st century back-aching males:
• Use it or lose it – when lifting heavy objects or picking up the kids bend your knees, otherwise this will lead to overstretching and damage your back, try not to bend from the waist, which increases the stress on your lower back.
• Keep it close – the weight you are carrying should be kept as close to you as possible to help reduce the strain on your neck and back. Putting the weight down can often cause just as many injuries as lifting it up. If possible, put the weight on something at waist height rather than the floor.
• Sit up – if watching the big game or race on your TV or mobile device make sure you are sitting comfortably with your back supported in the base of the chair. Sitting with your head forward adds strain on your neck and back so always sit with your head directly over your body.
• Get moving but ease in – the back is mechanical in nature so try to move around every 20 to 30 minutes whether at home or at work. Being active is a great way to keep back pain at bay but don’t be tempted to go full throttle with high endurance based activities as it can put the body under huge amounts of stress. Ease yourself in gently if you haven’t exercised in a while.