Sun. Nov 28th, 2021

Two thirds of young adults have been hit by ‘Covid Back’ after spending too many hours sitting around during the pandemic, new research reveals.

Though usually associated with older adults, the past 18 months have led to 64 per cent of 18-29-year-olds reporting back problems.

Causes including longer periods working from home, playing video games and even being hunched over while cooking as lockdown meant fewer meals out.

Many do not have proper desks and seats on which to work from home, increasing the likelihood of back pain, said the survey of 1,000 young adults by www.mindyourbackuk.com, a public health campaign from Mentholatum, makers of Deep Heat and Deep Freeze.

It estimates that back pain costs the UK £10billion a year through lost work, productivity and other costs – four in 10 sick days are caused by back problems, said the survey.

Dr Gill Jenkins, advisor to www.mindyourbackuk.com, said: “For the six in ten Brits who have been mostly or always working from home during the pandemic and are now hybrid working, almost half don’t have constant access to a table and supportive chair during their working day.

“And unfortunately, 20 per cent have to work while sitting on a sofa or bed. This plays absolute havoc with posture and spine health.”

Only 11 per cent of those forced to work from home were given workstation equipment from their employers and 17 per cent bought specialist chairs during lockdown.

The average working day also increased by an average of 48 minutes for those working from home and one in five of those polled said they did no exercise at all during a typical working week during lockdown.

Only seven per cent followed the standard recommendation to walk and stretch every hour while working at a desk.

Among those who suffered back pain, 56 per cent said it was in their lower back and 23 per cent in their neck or shoulder blades – both common problems associated with working at screens which are not at eye level or in chairs that fail to support the back.

Dr Jenkins added: “Caring for our backs can reduce stress and boost energy so we can live our lives to the full, without pains and aches
holding us back.”

Work from home advice from the campaign includes gentle stretching exercises for a few minutes each day as well as either walking, cycling or swimming as low impact activities to ease non-specific back pain.

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.

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