37 is the new 60: Why are more men suffering from early back pain?

A recent study commissioned by the British Chiropractic Association found that an astonishing 82% of men now experience regular neck or back pain.


Young attractive man got a back pain at the officeAt Milton Chiropractic we are used to seeing patients with back problems. As health professionals dedicated to treating musculoskeletal issues, it is almost a given. What we don’t see, however, are the people who elect not to get their problems diagnosed and treated – those people who believe that ignoring the problem will eventually see it go away.


While back problems are an almost inevitable result of life, due to constant wear and tear over time, it is the rapid growth of back issues in the UK that is perhaps most concerning. Despite the fact that we live in an age where medical knowledge and expertise has never been greater, the number of back pain sufferers has exploded.


According to the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), around 75% of men complained of regular back and neck pain a year ago. But in just 12 months that figure has risen to 82%. Just as concerning is the fact that these sufferers are getting younger and younger. When asked about the age at which they first felt regular pain, the two thousand men consulted as part of the BCA’s research said that they were 37 on average.


Jasper Hulscher, Clinic Director at Milton, says that this trend is as evident in Cambridge as anywhere:


“We have definitely seen a trend emerging where younger and younger men are experiencing significant pain and discomfort. The average may be 37 but we are even seeing a growing number of teenagers at our clinic, too. Sedentary lifestyles and, in particular, computer games seem to have played a role in this phenomenon.”


The modern lifestyle is to blame

Chiropractors are in agreement that the modern lifestyle has a large part to play in the growing back pain epidemic. Working long hours behind a desk; hunching over mobile phones and tablet devices; growing obesity levels and sedentary behavior – all of these things are seemingly to blame.


But for many health professionals the problem is more complicated than that. It is the bi-polar nature of our daily existence that leads even the ‘healthy’ among us to suffer from back issues.


Many of us split our lives between long periods of inactivity and short bursts of strenuous exercise. We start the day with a commute in the car, sit in front of a computer for 8 hours without moving and then head to the gym or to play sport. This sudden activity can be particularly damaging – even for those of us who consider ourselves to be fit and active. The musculoskeletal system becomes locked in place over the course of the day, and then we expect it to perform at its optimum at just a moment’s notice.


Jasper says:


“Until we begin to understand the importance of preparing our bodies – through warming up and down, performing stretches and spending more time on our feet during the working day – this problem may only get worse.


“Little or no attention is being paid to retaining good posture, mitigating the effects of desk work or performing remedial exercises. But perhaps the most worrying thing is that men in particular do not seek medical attention until the problem has become chronic. This presents a greater challenge to chiropractors and results in a longer road to recovery and rehabilitation.”


“My advice to those experiencing discomfort would be to get attention from a medical professional sooner rather than later.”


If you suffer from back pain, why not book your initial consultation. We will perform a thorough examination to identify the problem and recommend a course of treatment accordingly.