Today I’m sharing a worthy reblog from Sally Cronin with her article on backpain, in her Smorgasbord Health series, Sally hits on a topic that many of us writers can identify with – the sitting syndrome, and what we can do to alleviate some of the aches and pains.
Smorgasbord Health Column – Common Conditions A-Z – Working from Home – Backache by Sally Cronin
In this series I take a look at some of the more common health conditions we might experience.
Backache and working from home.
To give you an idea of how common backache is around the world; it is estimated that nearly 10% of the global population will experience either acute (one off or occasional event with recovery) or chronic backache (constant and disabling). There are a number of proven factors such as weight, height, age and of course occupational posture but generally the causes of lower back pain in particular are very hard to diagnose.
Back pain is one of the leading causes of disability but it also results in one of the biggest financial burdens on health services and industry around the world. An estimated 25% of all sick leave is the result of back problems with billions of pounds and dollars in medical costs.
In a paper published by the World Health Organisation it mentions the number of work days lost in a year due to back problems in the UK alone as over 100 million.
“Low back pain is the single biggest cause of years lived with disability worldwide, and a major challenge to international health systems. In 2018, the Lancet Low Back Pain Series Working Group identified a global problem of mismanagement of low back pain.” WHO
Work from Home and lack of Health and Safety Regulations.
Most businesses where staff are working at desks and on computers will have a some guidance on best work practices to prevent issues such as back pain or repetitive strain injury. But what about when hundreds of thousands of office workers are at home and using computers. Will their chairs be the right height, or their screens be at the right level?
Some of the pictures I have seen of people working from homes seem to be of laptops on knees, working on the sofa or sat on the floor with a laptop on a coffee table, or even when in bed. None of which will be good for posture and likely to result in back or neck pain.
Most people when experiencing lower back pain will reach for over the counter pain-killers. Whilst these may be effective in the short-term, they only mask the symptoms and do not address the cause of the back pain. If it is chronic, it becomes very easy to become dependent on the tablets, and very likely that the body will develop a tolerance. The nervous system, particularly the brain and spinal cord become less able to interpret the actual levels of pain you are experiencing requiring increasingly more medication over time.
This results in most people taking more pills that is good for the body. Apart from the risk of addiction, it can seriously damage your endocrine system (hormones) and this can impact many functions within in the body reliant on hormones for health. One condition in particular, Osteoporosis is already a risk factor for women following menopause, but with a consistent use of painkillers the impact on bone health can be very severe.
Unfortunately, since the cause of back pain can be difficult to diagnose, it is likely that your doctor is simply going to move your medications to the next level to opiods such as Tramadol which are highly addictive if used long-term. I have experience of this with my mother who had chronic hip pain and in her late 80s and early 90s was prescribed Tramadol. Very difficult for the person suffering the pain and those who care for them.
Where to start.
Most back pain is the result of posture issues due to your own physical condition or your work environment. . . continue reading at Sally’s Smorgasbord