As the second most common cause of long-term sickness in the UK after stress, back problems can be a massive pain for employers who are losing millions of pounds each year due to employees' ill health.
NHS figures reveal that from 2010 to 2011, back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders resulted in 7.6 million people being absent from work and a North-east corporate wellness firm says employers must make more effort to reduce the financial burden on their businesses.
Fitnut, which has offices in Aberdeen and the south of England, is urging employers to take back care seriously in the workplace to avoid any unnecessary absence.
The firm, which specialises in corporate health programmes for employees in the energy industry, is offering advice on reducing the risk of muscular disorders.
Throughout October and November, fitnut is including spine screening as part of their Healthy Living Day events.
Fitnut Managing Director, Penny McIntosh, said: "Around three out of five people in Scotland will experience low back or neck pain this year requiring some form of treatment – and these are some of the most common reasons that people visit their GPs.
"The most frequent causes of back pain are strained muscles or ligaments, wear and tear, bad posture and stress. Our fast spine screening allows employees to be examined by a chiropractor and gives them the opportunity to ask questions and find out about possible treatments for back and joint problems."
Fitnut has an experienced team to provide advice to employees who may be prone to chronic back, neck and shoulder pain, and here are some prevention tips to keep your back in top condition.
• Exercise regularly. Walking, swimming (especially backstroke) and using exercise bikes are all excellent ways to strengthen your back muscles.
• Always bend your knees and your hips, not your back. Never twist and bend at the same time.
• Always lift and carry objects close to your body. Try to carry items in a rucksack and avoid sling bags.
• Wear flat, cushioned shoes to reduce stress on your back.
• Practice good posture to help reduce your risk of back pain. Stand upright, with your head facing forward and back straight. Balance weight evenly on both feet.
• Maintain good posture at your desk - avoid slumping in your chair and hunching over the desk. Use a chair with a backrest and sit with your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest. Change how you sit every few minutes. Correct posture when sitting can help prevent repetitive strain injury.
• Reduce your stress levels.
• Quit smoking. It is thought that smoking reduces the blood supply to the discs between the vertebrae and this may lead to degeneration of these discs.
• Lose any excess weight.
• Choose a mattress firm enough to support your body, shoulders and buttocks while keeping your spine straight. Support your head with a pillow but make sure your neck is not forced up at a steep angle.