The latest addition to Deep Heat’s toolkit for soothing and tackling pain – the Deep Heat Warming Belt – can’t come soon enough and is hot off the heals of a worrying set of findings from a national survey of 1,000 Brits carried out on behalf of Deep Heat.
With 74% of those polled saying they’ve suffered with back pain; the survey results send a stark warning that the problem has reached epidemic levels.
• 55% have experienced lower back pain
• 30% have experienced both lower and upper back pain.
Physiotherapist and advisor to Deep Heat, Sammy Margo says: “Back pain is now the single biggest cause of disability in the UK and hybrid working is only inflaming the issue.”
“While it’s great that many people took up exercise during the lockdowns and did a bit more than usual, it’s clear that some have gotten into the habit of spending more time on the sofa or in front of computers. Research shows that this has detrimental effects on body weight, mood, and the health of joints and muscles. Poor posture is a well-known consequence of sitting for long periods of time, and the end result is often a painful stiff back.”
Understanding the importance of posture:
Of those who think they know the root cause of their spinal discomfort, 29% believe it’s down to poor posture, while 21% blame a pulled muscle, and 17% put it down to a sprain or strain.
“While over a third (34%) of those polled don’t even know the cause of their back pain, nearly three in 10 know their posture is causing them pain. However, too many of us are still making do with a sofa, or worse still a bed, as our workspace, which plays absolute havoc with posture and spine health.”
The lowdown on low back pain:
The problem of back pain can be a complex issue to tackle. Sammy Margo explains: “The multitasking demanded of the lumbar spine, or lower back, makes it vulnerable to injury and inflammation, and because there is so much overlap of nerves supplying the discs, muscles, ligaments, and other structures, it can be difficult to identify the primary problem.
“It requires a multi-modal approach which includes immediate pain relief and muscle relaxation, alongside strategies to remobilise and reduce the risk of ongoing issues.”
According to real-world survey data, when we experience back pain, nearly half of us will reach for a packet of pain pills, with drug-free forms of pain relief given lower priority.
• 47% take painkillers when they get back pain
• 40% put their feet up
• 28% reach for their stretching exercises
• 28% soothe themselves with a warm bath.
Hybrid working playing havoc with posture:
One cross-sectional study of Italian workers in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that hybrid working and working from home increased the risk of musculoskeletal problems, particularly affecting the spine. What’s more, those hybrid working and working from home who experienced musculoskeletal pain reported having lower job satisfaction.
Prevention is better than cure:
Back pain is clearly a big problem among Brits, especially now a huge section of society is hybrid working. However, encouragingly some people do take measures to maintain their musculoskeletal health.
• 28% of poll respondents take regular exercise to help prevent back pain
• 27% prioritise good posture
• 27% check their sleeping position
• 25% make time for strengthening exercises.
Writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a panel of international experts recommended that desk-based workers should break up their day with standing based work, or switch to a sit-stand desk, initially aiming for two hours of standing or light activity every working day, building up to four hours a day.
Sammy Margo added: “It’s really important that back strains are prevented with good posture – for example sitting up straight and using the stomach muscles while sitting at a desk or driving the car, and early use of therapies when muscular pain is first noticed. This can include heat therapy – such as the Deep Heat Warming Belt – as well as stretching, massage with a tennis ball, and regular exercise”.
Heat therapy proven to help:
Applying heat to the area has also been clinically proven to help. According to a 2015 study in the Journal of Postgraduate Medicine, the physiological effects of heat therapy include:
• Pain relief
• Increased blood flow
• Increased metabolism
• Increased elasticity of connective tissues.
Clinical trials have shown that heat-wrap therapy, like the Deep Heat Warming Belt, provides pain reductions in patients with acute low back pain.
Sammy Margo notes further: “The Deep Heat Warming Belt has four large heat cells which provide up to 12 hours of deep penetrating warmth to relieve muscular aches, pains and tension – particularly for lower back or hip pain. This comfortable warming belt is odourless, non-stick, and stretchy and can be worn unnoticed under clothing as you go about your daily routine. It’s also ideal for people who want to avoid the gastrointestinal side effects of oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)and oral pain killers. In addition, the Deep Heat Warming Belt is also great news for people taking back pain medication and wanting to also use a complementary, drug-free pain relief remedy. As a result, the Deep Heat Warming Belt ticks all the boxes.”
6 Tips For Keeping On Top Of Musculoskeletal Pain Without Pills From Sammy Margo at Deep Heat:
1. Wearable warmth: “The Deep Heat Warming Belt provides clinically proven heat therapy and pain relief, particularly for the low back and hips, and offers a real alternative to oral painkillers,” says Sammy.
2. Stretch it out: Jan adds, “Gentle stretching elongates muscles and helps release tension. Hold a gentle stretch for 30-60 seconds then release slowly.”
Visit www.mindyourbackuk.com for Stretches to help relieve muscular tension.
3. Massage to minimise the risk: Sammy comments, “Massage helps to prevent musculoskeletal discomfort. Try placing a tennis ball on muscle knots and rolling on the ball using the floor or a wall.
4. And… relax: She goes on to add, “Take a break from any activities that cause your muscles to knot. It’s easy to forget the connection between psychological or emotional stress and physical stress, which can become a vicious cycle.”
5. Step out of your head and into your body: “Light to moderate exercise is a known stress reducer. Brisk walking or pilates can help to relieve musculoskeletal discomfort, including muscle knots,” Jan suggests.
6. Put sleep on a pedestal: And finally, Sammy comments, “Maintaining a well-rested body helps ease and prevent tight muscles. Ideally aim for 7-8 hours a night, without making this target an unnecessary addition to your stress load.”
For more information on the Deep Heat Warming belt see www.deep-heat.co.uk/products/deep-heat-warming-belt .