Common types of Back Pain
If you suffer from back pain, you are not alone. Work related back pain is a very common health condition in the U.K, particularly lower back pain. The Health and Safety Executive reports that between 2016-2017 there were approximately 3.2 million days lost to work related back disorders, with an average of 16.5 days lost per case.
Although the general trend of work-related back disorders is decreasing in the U.K, back pain is still recognised as the most common cause of job-related disabilities. We explore some of the most common types of back pain and offer some general tips to prevent them.
Lower back pain from muscle strain is usually caused by any type of movement that puts undue stress on the lower back. Frequent causes include lifting a heavy object, lifting while twisting, or a sudden movement or fall.
It is important to lift objects correctly with your feet apart and one foot in front of the other, to create a stable platform. When performing the lift, bend your back, knees and hips slightly to achieve the desired angle without over-extending. The object should be closer to your hips than any other part of your body when carrying.
When changing direction, do so with your feet, not by twisting your back. When lowering the object, bend your knees and not your back – keep your back straight.
You can get a painful or stiff neck if you sleep in an awkward position, type on a computer keyboard for a prolonged period of time, or even from sitting in a draught. Anxiety and stress can also sometimes cause tension in your neck muscles.
To minimise the chances of neck pain, ensure your posture is correct when sitting and sleeping. Your mattress should be firm enough to support your body while supporting the weight of your shoulders and buttocks, keeping your spine straight. Your head should be supported with a pillow, but make sure your neck is not forced up at a steep angle. Your head should be supported with a pillow, but make sure your neck is not forced up at a steep angle.
A slipped disc occurs when the outer case of the disc ruptures, resulting in the gel inside bulging and protruding out of the disc. The damaged disc can put pressure on the whole spinal cord or on a single nerve root. This means that a slipped disc can cause pain both in the area of the protruding disc and in the area of the body that is controlled by the nerve that the disc is pressing on.
It is not always clear what causes a disc to break down, although age can be a common factor. As you get older, your spinal discs start to lose their water content, making them less flexible and more likely to rupture.
It is very important that you keep active if you have a slipped disc. Initially, it may be difficult to move around if you are in severe pain, however, after this, you should start to move around as soon as you can, which will keep your back mobile and speed up your recovery. You should ensure that any exercise you do is gentle and does not put a strain on your back. Swimming is an ideal form of exercise, because the water supports your weight and it puts very little strain on your joints.
The sciatic nerve runs from the back of your pelvis, through your buttocks, and down both legs, ending at your feet. When something compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve, it can cause a pain that radiates out from your lower back and travels down your leg to your calf. Sciatic pain can range from being mild to very painful. A slipped disc is the most commonly identified cause of sciatica, but in some cases, there is no obvious cause.
There are steps you can take to minimise your risk of a slipped disc or back injury that could lead to sciatica.
- Maintaining good posture
- Being careful when lifting
- Ensuring you warm up before exercise
- Activities such as yoga, which improve flexibility
- Exercises which increase the strength of your core muscles and help support your back.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Back pain and our policies
Our policies are designed to provide cover for the treatment of ‘Acute Conditions’ and to complement the treatments available under the NHS. ‘Acute Conditions’ include any condition, disease or illness that responds to short-term treatment with the aim of returning you to the state of health you were in before suffering the disease, illness or injury. The policies do not cover treatment of a chronic or long-term condition.
For more information, please contact our Sales Team who would be more than happy to provide you with further information on 0800 917 4325†.
The information in these pages is intended as general advice only. If you or your family member have any medical concerns, please contact your GP.