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Backcare Awareness Week 2020

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80% of people in the UK will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. 

It’s estimated that a huge 80% of people in the UK will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.1 Whilst invisible to the naked eye this condition can last days, intermittently or for eternity and can range from mild discomfort to chronic agony. 

The first full week of October marks Backcare Awareness Week in the UK, a campaign run by BackCare (the National Back Pain Association). The charity was set up in 1968, and for over 50 years it’s been educating people on how to prevent and relieve back pain.2

Each year their campaign focuses on a different area or cause of back pain. And in 2020, they’re concentrating on the incidence and prevention of back pain in nursing.  

The link between back pain and nursing 

According to BackCare, nursing (intensive care nursing in particular) is one of the occupations with the highest incidence of work-related back problems3 and Chronic Lower Back Pain (CLBP) among nurses is a growing health concern.4 This is likely down to the frequent repetition of particular movements, having to lift and reposition patients, regularly stooping forwards and people in this profession being on their feet for extended periods of time. 

What you can do when pack bain strikes 

It’s important to continue to try and prevent back injuries by keeping a generally healthy lifestyle and making sure to take particular care when lifting heavy objects. But, so many of us can be taken by surprise by the sudden onset of back pain, so we wanted to share some easy to remember tips from the NHS5 and Virtua Health6 which may help:

  • Keep moving: Something that might surprise you is that bed rest is not always a good thing for back pain. Nowadays medical professionals, like the NHS, suggest that keeping moderately active as much as possible can help your back recover quicker. 
  • Stretch it out: Simple back exercises and stretches can often help reduce back pain. Do them at home and as often as you feel you need to. The NHS have shared some useful exercises and stretches you can try. 
  • Hot and cold packs: Applying hot and cold compresses can help ease the pain you feel. Applying something cold like an ice pack can help reduce the initial swelling of a recent back injury, and afterwards a hot compress can help relax tight muscles to aid recovery. 
  • Painkillers: Painkillers and anti-inflammatories, like ibuprofen, may help to ease the discomfort you feel so you can move around more freely. And this could result in a shorter recovery time. However, certain types of painkillers are not suitable for everybody so you should consult with a medical professional to find the one best for you to use. Always make sure you read the instructions before using them.  
  • Stay positive: Stress and anxiety can increase muscle tension and prolong the pain. Try to be patient. The pain will most likely subside in time so take things slow and steady.  

How can we help our members?

If you’re a member of LV= you can access our member benefits. One of which is the Member Care Line where you can speak to a registered nurse if you have any medical concerns. Simply call 0800 876 6166 and select option 1, anytime, between 9am to 5pm on weekdays.

Alternatively, you can head over to the online portal and view a variety of wellbeing resources including articles, videos, mini health checks and 4-week programmes, all aimed at improving your physical and mental wellbeing.

References

[1] NHS. Back pain guide. Accessed on 30/09/2020. Available on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/

[2] BackCareAbout Us. Available on https://backcare.org.uk/about-us/

[3] BackCare. 2020. TalkBack, autumn (Published on 21 Sept 2020) Accessed on 30/09/2020. Available on https://issuu.com/backcare/docs/backcare_talkback_issue_2_2020

[4] Budhrani-Shani P et al. 2016. Mind-Body Exercises for Nurses with Chronic Low Back Pain: An Evidence-Based Review. Nurs Res Pract. 2016;2016:9018036. doi: 10.1155/2016/9018036. Epub 2016 Jul 3. PMID: 27446610; PMCID: PMC4947504.

[5] NHS. Back Pain Treatment. Accessed on 30/09/2020 Available on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/treatment/

[6] Virtua Health. 10 Tips for dealing with lower back pain. Accessed on 30/09/2020 Available on https://www.virtua.org/articles/10-tips-for-dealing-with-lower-back-pain