More men are suffering from back pain than ever before and those affected are getting younger, findings from British Chiropractic Association (BCA) have revealed.
The average age that men first begin to suffer is 37, which is significantly younger than in the past, the BCA claims.
The study, which polled more than two thousand men, also revealed that nearly a quarter (24%) feel pain every day.
Moving heavy objects is the top trigger for almost half (47%) of men, however 41% admit they don’t do anything to proactively look after their backs and just over one quarter (28%) opt to self-treat with over the counter medicine.
"Worryingly we’re seeing younger men coming through our doors who aren’t looking after themselves," said BCA chiropractor, Rishi Loatey. "The modern man is certainly feeling the strain as we constantly juggle busy lives – working longer hours, tackling DIY and looking after the kids – it all takes its toll."
Some men are putting the strain down to their size; 14% think having a big belly has the most negative impact on their back health compared to just 6% of women but according to the experts, this is not necessarily the case.
"There is no real correlation between weight and back pain, rather the link is between poor muscle tone and back pain – people who are overweight do tend to have poor muscle tone so it’s important they focus on strengthening the muscles in their back," he added.
"The mid-to-late-thirties group are not as active today," chiropractor Tim Hutchful told the Daily Mail. "People who are in their sixties now had a much, much more active lifestyle when they were in their thirties than the current 30-year-olds."
"People now have lifestyles where part of their life is very sedentary and then another part is manic. They might commute to work in their car, they sit on their backsides all day, then play five-a-side football once a week – and that is when the problems happen."
The BCA have offered four top tips to help the 21st century male get through the day back and neck pain free:
Use it or lose it
When lifting heavy objects or picking up the kids bend your knees, otherwise this will lead to over-stretching and damage your back, try not to bend from the waist, which increases the stress on your lower back.
Keep it close
The weight you are carrying should be kept as close to you as possible to help reduce the strain on your neck and back. Putting the weight down can often cause just as many injuries as lifting it up. If possible, put the weight on something at waist height rather than the floor.
If sat watching the big game or race on your TV or mobile device make sure you are sitting comfortably with your back supported in the base of the chair. Sitting with your head forward adds strain on your neck and back so always sit with your head directly over your body.
Get moving but ease in
The back is mechanical in nature so try to move around every 20-30 minutes whether at home or at work. Being active is a great way to keep back pain at bay but don’t be tempted to go full throttle with high endurance based activities as it can put the body under huge amounts of stress - ease yourself in gently if you haven’t exercised in a while.