New consumer research from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has found that a massive 89% of 16-24 year olds who have struggled with back or neck pain now or in the past, admitted that their pain increased when they were stressed.*
The findings revealed that more than half (54%) of 16-24 year olds say they have struggled with back or neck pain now or in the past and, of those who have suffered, 51% said they experience back or neck pain when they feel stressed.
As the exam period can be a stressful time for many students, the back experts at the BCA are encouraging those taking exams to incorporate simple steps into their daily routine to help ensure back or neck pain doesn’t impact on their studies.
BCA chiropractor, Rishi Loatey, said: “The exam period is a busy and often demanding time for students and it’s important that they are able to keep their full focus on revision and preparation. While stress doesn’t cause back and neck pain it can exacerbate the symptoms, so it’s important that students take steps to ensure this doesn’t affect their work.
“Simple actions such as taking breaks during long stretches of revision and ensuring you’re not sitting hunched over your notes or laptop could make a big difference.”
The research also revealed that half (49%) of 16-24 year olds who have suffered from back or neck pain admitted they feel the strain at least once a week and more than a third (35%) said they had been struggling for up to two years.
The BCA has the following tips for students:
• Sit up, look sharp – always work at a table, sitting on a chair, rather than on the sofa or in bed. Relax when sitting into your chair, making sure you have your bottom against the seat back with your shoulder blades are touching the back rest of the chair.
• Take a break – taking regular revision breaks is extremely important and the BCA recommends students move around every 20-30 minutes – stand up to stretch, change position and walk around a little.
• Check it! – It can be tempting to carry around all your notes and books, but make sure you check your bag every day so you’re only carrying the things you really need. Try using bags which can be carried on two shoulders with adjustable straps so the weight can be distributed evenly.
• Walk tall – Look for opportunities to exercise during the day. Why not try walking to the library instead of getting the bus or driving?
• Keep hydrated: Don’t forget to drink lots of water. Make sure you top up your fluids as the body works better when well hydrated. Your muscles and joints will work more efficiently and for longer.
• Stretch it out – If you’re revising at home embrace the privacy by doing regular stretches. The BCA has developed a series of simple exercises to improve posture and help prevent back pain.
*This figure refers to those 16-24 year olds who said they have ever suffered/ currently suffer from back or neck pain and who have experienced back/ neck pain when they feel stressed