Coronavirus: More than a third of Britons have experienced increased back pain during lockdown, survey claims

Those aged 25–44 more likely to claim aches caused by inadequate work from home set up 

Adrian Hearn
Tuesday 20 October 2020 15:57 BST
Increased screen time thought to be main cause for back pain and other aches
Increased screen time thought to be main cause for back pain and other aches

Lockdown has caused a rise in aches and pains – with more than a third of Britons experiencing an increase in acute pains affecting their back, head, and joints, according to a survey.

A poll of 2,000 UK adults revealed 36 per cent have experienced increased pain over the last six months.

And 25 per cent put their new lockdown pain down to a poor office or workstation set-up at home.

Back ache (36 per cent) is the biggest problem for Britons followed by headaches (34 per cent), joint pains (27 per cent), neck aches (26 per cent) and muscle pain (24 per cent).

But the research, commissioned by Nurofen, showed an interesting pain paradox: as some of the lockdown benefits were also listed as pain triggers.

It also emerged those aged 25–44 were more likely to claim their increased pain was caused by a poor work from home set up and more time looking after their children, perhaps as a result of juggling work with home schooling.

On top of this, 50 per cent of all respondents claimed stress was a key factor in their increased pain, which might have reflected the lockdown climate.

Dr Sarah Jarvis MBE, a general practitioner, said: “Pain can affect our mood, relationships, family and work life so it’s important that we take steps to deal with it quickly and effectively.

“It’s clear that adjusting to new ways of living and working has heightened our acute pains, or even caused new ones."

Among those who have experienced issues is Nikki Jacobs, a parent working from home during lockdown.

She said: “Lockdown was quite a rollercoaster. It was great to spend more time with the children however working from home, schooling the kids, and juggling family life was stressful and led to headaches and tension pains.

“I’ve always been fit and healthy, so these pains were completely unexpected especially as I never had any issues with pain in the past.

“So many people must have been going through what I experienced, and it amazes me that there isn’t more advice and support relating to pain during lockdown.”

The study also found that despite the increase in aches and pains, since lockdown 21 per cent and 17 per cent fewer people have sought advice from GPs and pharmacists, respectively.

It also emerged that many may have taken the opportunity during lockdown to indulge in a favourite TV series or film, however 39 per cent believe this increased time spent in front of TVs, computers or laptops caused their pain.

In fact, more screen time may also have had other consequences, with 35 per cent believing changing sleep patterns and 33 per cent thought less physical activity also worsened their pain.


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