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Stand up to back pain in Wales ONE in four people with twice.

ONE in four people with debilitating back pain in Wales say they do not have a formal diagnosis for their back pain symptoms and do not understand how to treat it. This is leading to widespread anxiety, depression and avoidable time off work, research suggests.

Figures from Nuffield Health reveal of 3,322 questioned nationally, 36% said they suffer lower back pain. Over half of Wales' respondents had been treated by a physiotherapist for back pain, yet more than a quarter felt anxious about doing physical activity or exercise for fear of making the problem worse.

Nuffield Health notes a sedentary lifestyle and a lack of awareness of how to obtain an accurate diagnosis are contributing to a large population - 275,000 in Wales alone based on this snapshot view - living with painful symptoms which could be avoided.

Consultant spinal surgeon with Nuffield Health Cardiff & Vale Hospitals Mr James Cordell-Smith, said: "Although millions of people suffer from debilitating back pain, there is still a lack of consistency and understanding about how to prevent and treat it."

Work-related back pain is a major ill health condition in Great Britain and led to 2,957,000 lost working days in 2014/15 according to the Health and Safety Executive. The average number of days lost per case is 13.3 days. According to Nuffield Health research more than one in five with back pain in Wales have taken at least a week off work, while one in four are on long-term sickness benefit or cannot work due to their symptoms, more than twice the UK average of 14%.

Cardiff-based surgeon James Cordell-Smith continued: "There may not be a medical or surgical solution for many, and doctors need to be honest about what can be achieved, but if a patient is empowered with knowledge then they can use the information to help themselves. An early diagnosis can help prevent people from spending years in pain and being resigned to an inactive life."

The Nuffield Health three steps to reducing back pain: ? Build regular exercise into your daily routine: 'Couch potatoes' or those who lead a sedentary lifestyle primarily watching TV or playing video games are more than twice as likely to suffer back pain.

Make sure you are taking regular breaks at work: One in three back pain sufferers in the UK do not take regular short breaks at work.

Pay attention in high risk jobs: One in four back pain sufferers drive long distances for work or do manual labour work. 40%

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 13, 2016
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