According to recent research, more days of work are lost to back, neck and muscle pain than any other cause.
With many of us working harder and longer hours than ever before, it’s no surprise that our bodies – and our ability to lead normal lives – are suffering.
If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of men or women in the UK with back trouble, we recommend the following self-help tips to break the back pain cycle in just your lunch break:
Keep your lunch technology free
It can be tempting to spend your lunch break catching up on social media, checking your personal email and responding to text messages, but this activity is only adding to your back trouble. Long periods of neck flexion when staring down at a phone or tablet screen can lead to stiffness and aches. The human body just simply isn’t designed to hold this position for a long period of time. Aim to spend your break relaxing and eating your lunch in peace.
Take a 10-minute stroll
If you sit down all day at work, you should get up regularly and take a walk. Your lunch break is a particularly good opportunity to stretch your muscles and take pressure off your joints. Lack of movement can weaken the muscles, which can lead to the degeneration of joints and problems with support. Both can contribute to back problems. Research shows that taking a brisk walk each day can have a wide number of benefits as well as helping to alleviate back pain.
Prolonged stress exacerbates back pain because of the overproduction of the hormone, cortisol and increased muscle tension. Spending 15 minutes of your lunch break practicing mindfulness in a quiet environment could make a huge difference to your stress levels. You could also consider booking an appointment with a local massage therapist or reflexologist who can provide a quick session during your lunch hour to relax your mind and body.
Being overweight puts additional strain on the back, so eating well and keeping your weight down should be a priority. Nutritional choices can also make a difference to pain, as some foods will trigger inflammation and could have a detrimental effect on your stress levels. Eating healthy, balanced meals will help to ensure long-term weight management.