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Below are some facts on how back pain can have adverse effects on productivity

Back pain cripples small Firms

A report has revealed that 13 million working days are lost every year with 63% of small firms saying 1 in 5 of their staff suffer from back strain.
“Losing an employee with work related back strain could cause problems for any size business, but in a small firm the results can be catastrophic” (TUC General Secretary, John Monks)

80% of workers have back pain

Following a Mori poll carried out for ‘Unison’, the country’s biggest Union, 4 out of 5 workers suffer back pain and 20% take time off work because of it.
Dave Prentis (Deputy General Secretary, Unison) said “back injuries can be prevented and yet every year 300,000 people are forced to endure agony”.

Comments on back pain by PPP Healthcare

230,000 people are off work with pain each and every day.
Back pain costs the country between £3 and £3.5 billion per year in lost production, medical treatment and sickness benefits.
The lumbar spine bears the greatest strain and is subject to more twisting and straining than the upper parts. This is why low back pain is so common.
Poor posture, unaccustomed lifting, prolonged driving and uncomfortable mattresses can cause back pain.
The joint between the pelvis and the spine (sacroiliac joint) is a major load bearing joint. Damaged sacroiliac joints are an underestimated cause of back pain.
Chronic back pain makes the sufferer irritable and can lead on to clinical depressive illness which may lead to treatment in itself.

Back facts (extracts from The Campaign for Better Seating)

What you sit on affects how you sit, and this may influence how your back feels and works.
Back pain is an increasing and major health problem and the cause of the greatest loss of working days. There is an epidemic of back trouble which is costing the NHS £480 million every year.
Posture is deteriorating. Poor posture leads to back trouble. Poor seats encourage or even force one into poor posture. Sitting on seats which force you to slump weakens the back, leaving it vulnerable to injury. Eventually slumping and poor posture become the norm.
We know that it is important to sleep on a good firm mattress and to have a good office chair.
Lumbar support has been thought to be absolutely necessary and almost a cure-all in a chair. It is now recognised that too large a lumbar support or one in the wrong place does more harm than good.

More Statistics

Increased prevalence among age group 16 – 24.
Back injury is the largest single recorded cause of long term sick leave.
85% receive no differential diagnosis.
60% of adults suffer back problems annually.
30% of adults become chronic sufferers.
Most strains and injuries in the back occur when repeating previously successful actions.
In most cases, no more than 48 hours bed rest is advisable.
Many spinal problems take years to develop.


Pause for thought for a moment on some of the points shown above. Is it really worth buying the cheapest chair you can find? Surely it makes sense to buy a chair that will give years of correct support, helping those with back pain to carry on working in greater comfort and help to prevent others from suffering in the future. How many staff days ‘off sick’ or unproductive working would it take to pay for a good quality, long lasting chair?

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