Men begin to battle serious back pain as early as their 30s, a new study has revealed, with 37 being the average age at which men start to combat chronic back and neck problems.
The survey, conducted by the British Chiropractic Association, found that more than four out of five British men (82%) live with back or neck pain, and close to a quarter (24%) feel that pain every single day. The results mesh well with previous findings that, among U.S. adults, back pain is the leading cause of disability for adults younger than 45.
“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,” said Rishi Loatey of the BCA in a news release. “[W]orryingly, we’re seeing younger men coming through our doors who aren’t looking after themselves.”
Of the men surveyed, 41% admitted they do nothing to proactively care for their backs. Other recent research has found that while about two-thirds of adults with back pain blame a specific physically demanding activity (such as lifting heavy objects) for triggering their pain, simply taking on day-to-day tasks can be just as taxing. That means patients need to be looking out for their backs even when they’re not planning on extreme physical exertion.
Of the 2,127 adults surveyed on behalf of the BCA, 14% of men and 6% of women said they thought losing weight would ease back strain. But Loatey explained that muscle tone is actually much more important than weight when it comes to preventing back pain, so a regular exercise regimen is by far the best way to ward off chronic back problems.
He also emphasized that opting for self-treatment, rather than getting medical attention, often causes greater problems down the road. “Like with most things, prevention is better than cure which is why it’s so important to seek help from a healthcare professional if you experience pain for more than a couple of days,” he cautioned. “Don’t be tempted to self-treat with over-the-counter medicine for a prolonged period of time, as this may be masking the symptoms rather than resolving the problem.”