Back pain is extremely common amongst most adults. An estimated one-third of the adult population in the UK are affected by back issues each year. According to the Office for National Statistics, back pain accounts for almost 31 million days of work lost annually costing the UK economy £14 billion each year. The leading cause to most back pain is sedentary office occupations which result inactivity between back muscles and the spine. A combination of high workload and poor posture can increase the occurrence of back pain at work. Can an app help combat this?
The core problem is our modern, sedentary working life. We’re hunched at desks all day and this puts strain on our back
Stephan Huber, chief medical officer at Kaia health
Back pain does not normally have a serious cause and in most cases the pain will improve within four to six weeks.
The cause for most back pain was explained by Stephan Huber, chief medical officer at Kaia health and said: “The core problem is our modern, sedentary working life.
“We’re hunched at desks all day and this puts strain on our back.”
Huber offers a few simple changes one can make to reduce the risk of back pain in the workplace which include:
- Walk and talk during phone calls
- Take a break from the screen every 30 minutes for at least two minutes
- Exercise regularly at your desk including arm stretches and neck rolls
- Walk over to and talk with a colleague rather than emailing them
- Arrange a workplace assessment to optimise the seating position and workstation
- Meditate for 10 minutes. Be mindful of the influence workplace stress and strain has
- Sit correctly with your thighs at right angles to your body or sloping slightly down
Huber adds: “We’re encouraging UK employers to adopt a holistic approach to tackling back pain in and out of the workplace.
“This could include increased access to exercise and relaxation like the Kaia app offers.
“Implementing these measures systematically for workers could lead to a more active way of dealing with the condition and this will help to alleviate back pain and reduce the strain on the NHS.”
The Kaia back pain app was developed by digital therapy company Kaia health in conjunction with physiotherapists, orthopaedic surgeons and clinical psychologists.
The app offers video exercise with education, physiotherapy and psychological strategies.
Users can chat online with a physiotherapist or sports scientist for motivation and exercise-related questions.
In a clinical study published in NPJ digital medicine, patients using the Kaia app reported significantly lower pain levels compared to the control group treated with physiotherapy and online education.
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