Back Care Awareness Week
Around 60% of UK adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives.* With such a large amount of the population affected, it is no surprise that the 3rd – 7th of October every year has been designated Back Care Awareness Week.
This week aims to raise awareness of the importance of taking care of our backs. Chronic back pain can cause significant discomfort and notable disruption to daily activities in many cases. This means it is vital to look after ourselves as best we can to avoid this situation.
On this page we will discuss back pain and injuries, how they may affect you and ways to look after your back health.
There are many potential causes of back pain, all of which can cause serious discomfort to those impacted. These causes could be things such as:
- Illnesses or infections
- Medical conditions
- Sports injuries
- Soft tissue or spinal cord injuries
- Poor posture
Any of these reasons could cause pain significant enough to negatively affect your day to day life. In serious cases, they may even result in the need for sick leave to recover – particularly if you are employed in a very active occupation.
If you develop significant back pain due to an injury or recently diagnosed medical condition (e.g. arthritis) and it affects your ability to work, you may be able to benefit if you have an income protection insurance policy in place.
Income protection cover is designed to pay out a tax-free lump sum every month, if unable to work due to illness or injury for an extended period of time.
You will be eligible to claim once your statutory sick pay (SSP), work sick pay scheme or savings run out. You can receive payments until you are able to return to work or your claim period runs out (typically 12 months or 24 months). This can be a great relief if you need time to rest and recover to improve your back health.
Causes of upper back pain
There are several potential causes of pain in the upper back. These include but are not limited to:
- Muscle strains
- Pinched nerves
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Wearing a heavy backpack
Middle back pain causes
For the middle back some of the common causes of pain are:
- Herniated discs
- Poor posture
- Sprain or strain
- Infection (e.g. kidney infection)
Low back pain causes
Low back pain is very common and some reasons for this to occur are:
- Slipped disc
- Structural problems (e.g. scoliosis)
- Being overweight
- Muscle strain (e.g. from lifting heavy objects)
Improving back pain symptoms
There are ways in which to improve the health of your back and treat moderate symptoms at home. There are best steps to improving your back pain include simple measures such as:
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief (e.g. ibuprofen)
- Physiotherapy exercises and stretches
- Ice packs or heat packs
- General exercise and healthy lifestyle choices
- Maintain good posture
- Take time to rest (if possible)
A common reason for back issues is pain due to injury. Back injuries can occur in many different ways. It could something as simple as a bank injury from falling, from lifting a heavy object with an improper technique or a very serious event such as a car accident.
No matter the cause of the injury, the resulting pain can be frustrating and worrying if it is not improving.
There are dedicated physiotherapists and chiropractors who can help those suffering with pain to try and improve their symptoms. This can either be through treatments in clinic or a suggested exercise and stretching routine to follow at home.
Back problems NHS
The NHS is very used to treating patients with back problems. In fact, there are various specialised doctors who will be able to help patients depending on severity of symptoms and the cause of back pain. This includes:
- General Practitioners (GPs)
- Spinal surgeons
Physiotherapy exercises for back pain NHS
After a physical exam, a dedicated physiotherapist will be able to come up with a treatment plan to help improve your back health.
This can include physio exercises for lower back pain, exercises for upper back pain, shoulder blade pain and various stretches and measures. These treatments could be done within a hospital or medical centre and then paired with simple exercises and stretches for you to follow at home.
This combined treatment plan should ideally help to relieve a patient’s pain and have a positive impact long term.
Back issues and income protection insurance
With income protection insurance you can safeguard your monthly income and with monthly premiums starting at extremely reasonable prices.
You could lower the cost of your policy even further, by choosing a longer deferred period. This refers to the waiting period between starting your sick leave and receiving your first policy pay out.
Cover your back and your finances with excellent levels of income protection cover from our team of 5-star insurance specialists.
Speak to our experts today for advice on the best protection for your lifestyle and budget. Ensure your back pain or injury does not affect your financial stability, if unable to work for an extended period.
*according to BUPA