Nationally representative survey exposes the true toll that working from home is having on our spinal health, and the need for Australians to act
Lockdown has triggered a spike in spinal-related pain: 75% of Aussies working from home report suffering back and neck pain as well as headaches.1 For one in four Australians, this is new pain never before experienced.1
Physical pain is exacerbating mental health issues, yet Aussies are not acting: 20% of Australians report experiencing depression and anxiety as a result of their physical pain, yet one in five (20%) are not seeking professional support.1
Spinal Health Week 2020 is a timely reminder for Australians to check in on their spinal health: Chiropractic care and other allied health professionals offer a range of clinical services which may be suitable for those who are living with pain.
SYDNEY, 19 AUGUST 2020: During Spinal Health Week 2020 (17-23 August), the Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) launched ‘Consider a Chiro’, a campaign aimed to encourage Australians to seek professional help if they develop posture related pain as a result of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Worryingly, ACA can reveal that of the 8.7 million Australian’s working from home, approximately a third report suffering from back pain (40.1%), neck pain (39.8%) and tension headaches (30.9%).1 What is more, is that over a quarter of those pain sufferers have never experienced this pain before.1
Dr Anthony Coxon, leading chiropractor and President of the ACA reveals that despite the increasing prevalence of pain, Australians are reluctant to seek help from healthcare professionals – a decision that could have knock on consequences to their health and wellbeing.
“Unfortunately, myself and other chiropractors across Australia see people who often suffer for months or years without receiving the right help. In fact, our research reveals that almost one in 10 wait more than six months to seek help and one in five (20%) do not seek professional help at all”.1
“As healthcare professionals we want individuals to take action on their pain to protect their quality of life. We know that pain not only puts physical strain on the body, it can manifest itself mentally which can be detrimental to someone’s wellbeing”, states Dr Coxon. “Our research tells us that a quarter (26.9%) of people living with pain are mentally exhausted and a fifth suffer from anxiety and depression (20.7%)”.1
What is more is that pain can also negatively affect everyday life. A quarter of those experiencing pain admit it impacts their performance at work (25%) and a third reveal they find it more difficult doing everyday household chores (33.5%).1 While one in 10 reveal their pain prevents them playing with their children (11.5%) and a further one in 10 confess it negatively impacts their sex life (11.8%).1
“Whilst we know that taking quick action on pain can prevent the abovementioned side-effects, we also know that when it comes to seeking professional help Australians are not always aware who they should visit.
There tends to be an outdated view of the chiropractic profession. A quarter of Australians think that we simply ‘crack bones’ but in truth, chiropractors use a wide range of techniques including spinal manipulation (also called spinal adjustments), soft tissue techniques, clinical exercise, as well as provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle advice. They are qualified to treat a range of musculoskeletal injuries, without prescription painkillers or surgery, such as low back pain, headaches / migraines, neck and shoulder pain, sciatica and whiplash” says Dr Coxon.1
In fact, the new research findings reveal that only one in 10 Australians (13.2%) would consider seeing a chiropractor if they had back pain – demonstrating the need for a campaign such as ‘Consider a Chiro’ which raises awareness of the profession and how chiropractors can help alleviate pain.1
“My advice to anyone working from home who is suffering a pain they haven’t previously experienced is to put your health and wellness as a priority and seek guidance from your trusted healthcare profession on your pain management options – before the pain causes detrimental impacts on your life”.
The Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) is the leading voice for chiropractors in Australia, actively working to further the profession of chiropractic through improving the health of all Australians.
To find out more about the ‘Consider a Chiro’ campaign or to find your local chiropractor visit: www. considerachiro.org.au
About the consumer survey
A nationally representative survey of Australian adults was commissioned by the Australian Chiropractors Association and conducted by Pure Profile, to explore existing perceptions, levels of education / awareness and experience with pain, pain management, and considerations for visiting a chiropractor. 1,042 Australian adults from all states and territories completed the survey.
1. Australian Chiropractor Association, Consumer Research Survey: July 2020