How to look after your back

Is back pain the main cause of days off work?

In the UK, 15 million working days were lost to back pain in 2013. It is the main cause of long-term sickness absence.

The key thing is to keep active. Immobility weakens muscles and range of movement.

Think about your back when staying in the same position for some time or lifting. 

Lift with a straight back and with the load close to your waist. Distribute weight evenly and know your limits.

Exercise will both prevent and reduce back pain. If you’re overweight, lose some. Over-the-counter painkillers can help in the short term but if back pain persists, see your GP. 

The NHS Choices website has an online back-pain guide.

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This content is wholly based on the Men's Health Forum's The Man Manual which was prepared in line with the NHS England Information Standard of which the MHF is a member. Follow the links for more information or to buy copies.


The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.

We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.

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