Humans have evolved from hunter gatherers and since the 1950s our lifestyle has become increasingly sedentary, especially since computers became so dominant in the work place in the 80s and at home. PC purchases started to tail off in 2012, replaced with I pads and smart phones, the increase in computer use correlates with the increase in work days lost to back pain in US (264 million), similar to the exponential rise from mid 80s in UK according to Gordon Waddells “The Back Pain Revolution”.
Our spines have not had time to adapt to this sedentary lifestyle in this minute period of evolution. On top of that, the food we eat is nothing like the food people ate, before scientists got involved in the production of “convenience food” in the 70s. These two factors are major contributors to the fact 68% of the UK population is either over weight or obese, which has resulted in a rapid rise in chronic conditions and cancer. This is the first generation of children with lower life expectancy than their parents.
Ergonomics is the study of the interaction between people and machines and the factors that affect these interactions. There are many factors to consider when improving human-machine interactions, above all the users should benefit from ergonomic improvements rather than making the user fit the system. To help the spine adapt better to these stresses Richard Lanigan has produced a Spinal Care Information sheet for patients.
The most helpful thing you can do to prevent and manage back pain is to keep your back fit and healthy by leading an active lifestyle. When people ask for recommendations for a “good chair” I will often advise the least comfortable one because you are less likely to sit in it for hours. Better still work standing up, however it takes time to build up the endurance to stand all day, five days a week. When you have to sit on something try a Swiss Ball because its instability enables the stress of sitting to be spread over a broader area. This video is an infomercial I made with Scania twenty years ago about sitting while driving and the principles still apply.
Individuals who want to optimise aspects of their wellbeing, while maintaining spinal heath will find these tried and trusted gimmick free programmes usefull. ( pages not live yet)
Corestability Exercise Programme
Cardio Vascular Exercise Programme
Strengthening Upper Body Exercise Programme
Loosing Excess Body Fat
Reducing Emotional Stress