Take control of back pain

Take control of back pain

Dr Dawn Harper lets the nation know how to manage and prevent back pain with Mind Your Back, for NHS Self Care Week.

For NHS Self Care Week 2018 (Mon 12 to Sun 18 November, 2018), Dr Dawn Harper and Mentholatum UK are working together to help the nation manage and prevent back pain with the Mind Your Back campaign.

Back pain affects a growing number of people across the nation; it is often brought on by too much sitting due to increasingly desk-bound occupations and inactive lifestyles. In 2016/17, 3.2 million working days were lost due to work-related back disorders. Up until recently, advice would have been to rest, but research has shown that inactivity only makes things worse. Although NICE guidelines recommend a physical programme to help alleviate pain, many people do not know what kind of physical programme they should be doing.

Dr Dawn Harper, GP, broadcaster and author has been passionate about tackling this problem throughout her career. She says: ‘Back pain is such a common problem, that I rarely do a surgery without seeing someone suffering with it and it can have a huge impact on both work and social lives. Most of us don’t give our backs a lot of thought until they start to go wrong, but I believe it is time we all consciously take steps to look after our backs; I therefore recommend self-management routines that are quick and easy to do – like the Mind Your Back programme to help manage and prevent back pain.’

The Mind Your Back programme comprises five simple S.T.E.P.S to manage and prevent back pain:

  1. Stretch, this to increase mobility and reduce muscle stiffness
  2. Therapy, if pressed for time, start with applying a suitable topical product to help relieve aches and pains
  3. Gentle Exercise, such as walking, swimming or cycling to keep your back healthy and strong
  4. Posture, practice correct posture throughout the day and when sleeping to avoid future back issues
  5. Strengthen, use strengthening exercises to develop a strong core to help prevent future back pain.

Due to the prevalence of back pain and its potential impact on businesses, employers such as DHL, the national courier service, are picking up the campaign to help their workforce. Jon Hirst, General Manager at DHL/Nisa, Stoke on Trent, explains National Self Care Week is important to DHL: ‘At DHL Supply Chain we are committed to improving our colleague’s health, safety and wellbeing and we actively look for ways to introduce and encourage the uptake of self-management initiatives. We have approximately 500 colleagues across a range of jobs including driving, warehouse and clerical staff working at our site in Stoke on Trent. We are passionate about regularly running health, safety and wellbeing events for our colleagues to help educate and prevent key health issues.’

He continued, “This autumn, in line with National Self Care week, we invited Mentholatum to talk about its Mind Your Back Campaign to give our teams the confidence and techniques to manage and prevent back pain. The Mind Your Back five S.T.E.P.S. programme is easy to follow and can be adopted by anyone, even by those with a busy schedule. We hope that these five simple steps will help free our colleagues of back pain and keep them feeling good.’

For more information about NHS National Self-Care Week, visit: http://www.selfcareforum.org/