New research reveals back pain trends in the South West

New research reveals back pain trends in the South West

October 11, 2018

This BackCare Awareness Week (8 – 12 October), a local chiropractor offers simple, effective advice for preventing back or neck pain, in light of new research revealing people in the South West are experiencing this pain more frequently.

The consumer research, undertaken by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), analysed trends in back and neck pain over the last five years. The findings showed the proportion of people in the region experiencing pain each week has risen from 38% to 47%.

The most common triggers for back and neck pain, which affects 80% of people in the South West of England, have also changed.

More people in the South West reported that sitting still for long periods of time is contributing to their back pain increasing from 33% in 2013 to 52% in 2018.This is despite regular movement and exercise presenting a simple way for offsetting these triggers for back or neck pain.

Furthermore, the number of people pointing to their job as the cause of their discomfort has risen and now affects 20%, a fifth of the local population.

The most commonly cited trigger for back and neck pain in the region remains lifting and carrying heavy items, for the fifth year in a row.

Lisa Reed from Harbourside Chiropractic Centre in Portishead and member of the BCA comments on the findings:
“I think many of us will agree that the increasing numbers of people experiencing back or neck pain each week are concerning, especially given how simple it can be to protect ourselves from some of the most commons triggers.

“Our lifestyles are becoming increasingly sedentary both at home and at work – with many of us spending more time sitting than ever before, contributing to people in the region experiencing pain more frequently. For the 47% of adults in the South West who are experiencing back or neck pain on a weekly basis, I would urge you to consider incorporating more exercise and general movement into your routine where you can to help combat the effects of sitting still.”

Lisa Reed provides five top tips to get people in the South West of England moving and to prevent back or neck pain:

1. Take a break: When sitting for long periods of time, whether you’re at work, driving or catching up on box sets, ensure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes. Simple activities such as stretching and shoulder shrugging can also help to keep your body moving when you’re sitting for longer periods of time

2. Stay active: Physical activity can be beneficial for managing back pain, as a stronger body can cope better with the demands you make of it, however it’s important that if this is of a moderate to high intensity that you warm up and down properly to get your body ready to move! If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise or seek some advice. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body while keeping you mobile!

3. Work in comfort: When at work, make sure your desk is set up to support a comfortable position. This is different for everyone so if you don’t feel comfortable in your current set up, try altering the height of your chair or screen

4. Carry with care: While maintaining a strong body can help to prevent injuries, lifting and carrying in a safe way can help to prevent the leading cause of back and neck pain in the South West. Just as an athlete has to train to lift heavier weights, we should all only attempt to lift objects that we are able to without too much strain. If an item is particularly heavy then try to make use of available equipment which can help to take the load off your back, or reduce the load to smaller more manageable chunks.

5. Straighten Up!: The BCA has created a programme of 3-minute exercises, Straighten Up UK, which can be slotted in to your daily schedule to help prevent back pain by promoting movement, balance, strength and flexibility in the spine

The BCA recommends that, if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days you should seek professional help, for example from a chiropractor, who can assess you and help you to get moving again without pain.

You can follow the BCA on Twitter @ChiropracticUK and Harbourside Chiropractic Centre on Twitter @harbourchiro. You can find us online at or Facebook at Alternatively you can call us on 01275 390630.

1) This consumer research in 2018 was carried out on behalf of the British Chiropractic Association on between 28/02/18 and 07/03/18 on a sample of 2,066 adults in the UK
2) The consumer research in 2013 was carried out on behalf of the British Chiropractic Association between 01/03/2013 and 15/03/2013 on a sample of 2,044 adults in the UK
3) Chiropractors are specialists in spine care and chiropractic is a primary contact health profession that specialises in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and management of many conditions that are due to problems with bones, joints, muscles and nerves, particularly those of the spine.
4) The BCA is the largest and longest established association for chiropractors in the UK. Chiropractic is a statutorily regulated healthcare profession, regulated by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). Members of the BCA must abide by the GCC’s Code of Conduct and Standard of Proficiency. The association only accepts from an internationally recognised college of chiropractic education. Chiropractic care offers hands on pain management and focuses on muscles, joints and nerves. Chiropractic is suitable for all ages and can help with a wide range of problems