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Back Pain: Britain’s Unseen Crisis

Posted on 1st March 2019 by

back pain itv

It was very refreshing to finally see some positive, mainstream media coverage about back pain on ITV last night.

For so long now, there has been much scaremongering, misinformation and fear surrounding the best way to manage back pain and unfortunately this has become ingrained in people’s minds. Professionals like ourselves, who see people with back pain day in day out, have been battling to dispel the myths surrounding back pain for so long. So, maybe the message is finally getting through!

So, what were the key messages that the programme promoted?

  • Surgery is often not the answer. For the vast majority of people it’s about rehab getting active and getting fit. Less than 1% of people with back pain might be considered for surgery.
  • 1 in 5 people who have an X-ray or scan for back pain do so unnecessarily. Having a scan when you don’t need it may actually make things worse, as normal signs of ageing can be misinterpreted. An MRI scan is not always needed to find out what’s going on, it’s not a picture of pain, it’s a picture of normal ageing changes.
  • It’s not easy to uncover what causes back pain.
  • There isn’t a quick fix solution.
  • Painkillers and rest are no longer recommended treatments for back pain.
  • Our progressive lack of movement and activity are a key factor in our back pain epidemic.
  • Spines LOVE movement!
  • We need to incorporate movement throughout the day into our lives, NOT just in intensive bursts of exercise like going to the gym, for a run or an exercise class.
  • The back is a strong and robust structure, we need to trust it and not be afraid of pain.
  • Sedentary lifestyles must be tackled in childhood to create her;thy lifelong habits and help prevent back pain. Keeping fit and healthy at an early age might be a way of future proofing our backs.

Some Back Pain Facts:

  • There are almost 10 million people in the UK suffering with lower back pain
  • It’s one of there most common reasons for days taken off work
  • Back pain accounts for over 30 million lost working days a year
  • Back pain affects up to 80% of us

You can watch ITV’s Tonight – Back Pain: Britain’s Unseen Crisis here until the end of March 2019.

Read more about back pain

Low back pain & sciatica, the latest NICE guidelines

Help I’ve got back pain, what should I do?

How to live an active, healthy lifestyle free from back pain

On Your Feet Britain!

Posted on 24th April 2018 by

This Friday, On Your Feet Britain are challenging the nation to get On Your Feet. This is the fourth national day, when 1 million workers across Britain will be encouraged and challenged to sit less & move more.On Your Feet Britain

Awareness of the “Sitting Disease” has rocketed up in recent years. Standing desks are certainly becoming more commonplace, in fact our offices at goPhysio have 2 standing desk work stations.

Is it time your workplace joined in the fun event to take James Brown at his word?

Join 1 million office workers #SitLess and #MoveMore by signing up your workplace to this free event and see a different aspect of your colleagues.

Here’s some ideas to get you moving

  • Here’s a thought, instead of emailing the person opposite, do something revolutionary – walk over & talk face to face. It’s a good way to do business & it’ll do you good.
  • Ditch your usual lunch ‘al desko’ and take a stroll outside. You’ll get a spring in your step and feel better for it.
  • Make phone calls standing up. You’ll feel more confident and burn more calories than sitting.
  • Run a lunchtime fitness workshop, class or guided walk.
  • Add a walking meeting to your day.
  • Have 1 less chair at a meeting. With every change in the agenda item, move around and swap who stands.
  • Walk to work or get off the bus a few stops early.
  • Set a timer or reminder to break up prolonged periods of time on the computer to remind you to stand up & move about regularly.
  • Drink more water – you’ll have no choice but to get up regularly to visit the loo!

Why not take it on as an office challenge & free yourself from the office chair for the day. Find fun & easy ideas online to take part.

So Friday 27th April 2018 is your chance to get the ball rolling and encourage your employees and colleagues to take a stand. Team up with colleagues and see how much “sitting time” you can reduce on the day.

Sign up today at

Read more: Is standing the new sitting?

#SitLess #MoveMore

On Your Feet Britain 2018



UK businesses are failing health needs of their office-based staff

Posted on 16th May 2017 by

Workers appeal to bosses to take action that will help them lead healthier working lives

The vast majority of office-based workers are aware of the health dangers of spending hours on end seated at their desks, but management is failing to respond to their needs, according to a survey to mark On Your Feet Britain day on Friday April 28.

Less than a third of line managers were reportedly either aware of the health risks of sedentary behaviour at work but not bothered, or were simply unaware of the issue.

In contrast, close to 90% of employees believed they ‘absolutely’ or ‘somewhat’ should be more active at the workplace, while only 5% thought they had no need to increase activity during their working hours.

On Your Feet Britain, now in its third year, is a free event run by the Get Britain Standing campaign in association with Active Working, a community interest company. More than 2,500 businesses have signed up to On Your Feet Britain, encouraging millions of staff members to participate in a variety of fun and simple activities in their workplace to allow them to #sitless and #movemore.

Growing scientific evidence indicates that sitting for more than four hours each day (however active a Active working goPhysioperson you are outside the workplace) leads to multiple health risks (including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and mental health problems).

More than three-quarters of respondents to the survey, of 250 business organisations across the UK, wanted to see clear leadership, encouragement and better education on active working solutions, 38% believed a complete culture change was necessary, and 34% wanted access to adjustable desks.

Only 28% of companies were said to be ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged sitting, an encouraging 36% were ‘somewhat aware but keen to know more’, almost 22% were ‘somewhat aware but not that bothered’ and 13% were totally ignorant on the matter.

Almost 60% of co-workers questioned said they spend six or more hours a day seated during a typical office day and almost 90% spend upwards of five hours a day sitting down.

This despite more than 75% of office workers who replied to the survey confirming that they were ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged or excessive sitting. A further 20% said they were ‘somewhat aware’ of the dangers of the ‘sitting disease’ but wanted to know more. Fewer than 5% were either unaware or simply not that bothered.

Almost a third of line managers were reportedly either aware of the health risks of sedentary behaviour but not bothered or were simply unaware of the issue. Only 28% of companies were said to be ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged sitting, an encouraging 36% were ‘somewhat aware but keen to know more’, almost 22% were ‘somewhat aware but not that bothered’ and 13% were totally ignorant on the matter.

In contrast, close to 90% of employees believed they ‘absolutely’ or ‘somewhat’ should be more active at the workplace, while only 5% thought they had no need to increase activity during their working hours.

The average UK office worker sits 10 hours each day, with almost 70% of sitting taking place at work and 73 % only leaving their desk for toilet or tea breaks. Studies indicate that ongoing inactive behaviour is a risk for ALL employees, however fit and active they are outside the workplace.

“Employees across the country need to start asking for more activity in the workplace. No employee should be expected to sit for excessive or prolonged periods, like battery hens” says Gavin Bradley, Founding Director of Active Working. “On Your Feet Day is the perfect way to start experiencing the wellness and productivity benefits of sitting less and moving more. We are thrilled to see so many companies getting involved and engaged. We are all becoming increasingly aware of the importance of breaking up and reducing sitting time.”

On Your Feet Britain is a day when workers are encouraged to give their health a boost, converting sitting time to standing time by taking some simple actions. For example:

  •   Stand during phone calls
  •   Stand and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes
  •   Use the stairs rather than the lift
  •   Have standing or walking meetings
  •   Eat your lunch away from your desk
  •   Walk to your colleague’s desk instead of phoning or emailing them
  •   Stand at the back of the room during presentations

About Get Britain Standing:

Get Britain Standing is a dynamic campaign (operated by Active Working CIC) to increase awareness and education of the dangers of sedentary working and prolonged sitting time. We’re part of a multi-national campaign to promote #SitLess #MoveMore.

Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about ‘Active Working’, come along to our free event on 5th July at 2.30pm. At this free seminar goPhysio’s Non-Clinical Director, Fiona, will share the latest findings and recommendations on being active in the workplace. With a focus on ‘Active Working’, Fiona will discuss the benefits, challenges and practicalities of changing workplace behaviours to encourage a healthier working life.

  • Find out more about the problem of sitting too much
  • Learn how you can be more active in the workplace
  • Learn more about why being active is so important to your health
  • Practical ideas to take to your workplace

Fiona will also be joined by one of goPhysio’s Physiotherapists, who will be on hand to answer any of your work or postural related issues, aches or pains. Book your free place here.

Read more

Active working tips – drink more water

Active working tips – desk exercises 

Active working tips – dress to impress

Looking after yourself working from home


Is Standing the New Sitting? goPhysio Investigate

Posted on 19th September 2014 by

Standing desks are very common in the USA, but haven’t really caught on yet over here yet in such a big way. Recent studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle is now one of the highest risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. Another study suggested that sitting for prolonged periods is as dangerous as smoking is for your health. So should we be standing more?

What are the benefits of standing?
• Better posture
• Reduced low back pain
• Reduced risk of serious health issues
• Reduced risk of obesity
• Higher productivity levels

Standing desks are exactly what they sound like – a higher level desk that allows you to stand whilst you are working. They come in all shapes and sizes – some are a fixed height, while others use hydraulics to switch between a standing and sitting desk. However, you don’t need to buy an expensive desk – a patient of mine has constructed his own with a section of worktop from Ikea!

There are some great, cost effective DIY standing desk ideas on Lifehacker & Ikea Hackers.

A couple of our patients now use standing desks. They have feedback that:
• More energy
• Increased productivity
• Reduced pain – low back and sciatic nerve irritation
• More active round the office

• Can’t do all tasks standing
• Sore feet (he had to go out & buy new shoes!)
• Achey legs

If standing doesn’t appeal to you, there are still plenty of things that you can do to help improve your posture at work.

  • Research has shown getting up and standing just for 1-2 minutes every 20 minutes is beneficial. It allows the major back and leg muscles to contract, helping with blood flow. It also prompts the body to burn more calories, which is a nice bonus!
  • Using an ‘active’ chair could also be an option – saddle seats and gym balls make excellent chairs and encourage to sit in a much better posture.
  • Rearranging your desk layout can also help – make sure you aren’t over-reaching for your keyboard and mouse, that your screen is at the correct height and if you use a laptop, consider getting a docking station or stand to improve the angle.

Standing desks might not be for everyone, but the benefits of being more active are worth making the effort to spend at least some of your day up and moving!

We’d love to see your standing desks and hear your thoughts if you’re already using one – pop us an email with a photo and let us know how you’re getting on!