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Back Pain Wakes the Nation up at 3am

by AXA PPP healthcare(more info)

listed in back pain, originally published in issue 251 - January 2019



We all hope you are well and trust you had a restful night?

Unfortunately research suggests that for many back pain sufferers across the UK, ‘back pain’ has been waking them up between the hours of  3am - 4am this week - not a very good way to set them up for the working day ahead of them.

Back Pain Search Time-Chart Graph

Google Trends Back Pain Search 7 Days from 25 Oct - 1 Nov


Whilst there are a number of tips and tricks to avoid the causes of back pain, there is a lot of confusion surrounding the differences between certain specialists and when you’ve struggled with pain for a while, the sooner you see the right person for treatment, the better.

AXA PPP healthcare has explained below the differences between the specialists.





A Real Pain in the…Back

If you suffer the misery of an aching back, you’re not alone. Lower back pain is the world’s biggest cause of disability, with approximately 540 million people struggling globally. Whether it’s repetitive strain injury, carrying a bag that is too heavy, or simply sitting for a long period of time at your desk, it can be crippling.

Modern life doesn’t lend itself to having a healthy back. Over the past five years, Google Trends analysis shows that the number of people searching for ‘how to get rid of lower back pain’ has increased substantially (+100%).

With many adults in the UK spending more than seven hours each day sitting, it’s not surprising that eight out of 10 will suffer from back pain or some other musculoskeletal problem in their lifetime.*

Further Google Trends analysis highlights that Brits searching for ‘chiropractor vs osteopath’ has more than doubled in the last five years, growing 160%. So whilst it can be easy to tell when something is not quite right, the hardest part is knowing who you should see to help fix the problem, particularly if you don’t realize there is a choice available between a chiropractor, an osteopath or a physiotherapist?

Sarah Taylor, Head of Specialist Relations, at AXA PPP healthcare comments: “Musculoskeletal problems have a disruptive effect, so it’s no surprise they account for the greatest number of lost working days in the UK. When people experience muscle or joint pain, it’s important that they get the most appropriate treatment as early as possible, and a lot of it is about exploring the options available. Every person is different, so the answer depends on your specific situation and personal preferences - there is no one-size-fits-all solution, it really is about finding what is best for you.”

So Who Should you Visit?

Knowing which options are available to you, and distinguishing between the professions can be confusing. Without knowing too much, it can seem these practices are similar: non-invasive, drug-free, manual techniques, which aim to improve physical health and wellbeing. But, scratch the surface of what’s available and you may find a method that works particularly well for you.

Chiropractor – isn’t that the One with all the Cracking?

Search analysis shows that there are over 10,000 searches relating to ‘chiropractor crack back’ every month, suggesting that the common misconception surrounding the profession is still rife. So, if you haven’t been to a chiropractor before, the prospect of going might be a bit scary. Most modern chiropractors don’t use ‘cracking’ techniques too often as it is seen as less necessary than getting movement back into the spine. In fact, chiropractors use a range of techniques, from specific manipulation, mobilization, massage and muscle release to improve the movement and function of the spine and other joints.

Osteopathy – it’s not just for Bones and Joints

Many people might assume that osteopathy means ‘bones’. However, the practitioners specialize in the diagnosis, management, treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal disorders – looking at the relationship between the structure of the body and the way it functions. An osteopath will give you a clear explanation of what they find and discuss a treatment plan that is suitable for you. Treatment is hands-on and involves skilled manipulation of the spine and joints, and massaging of soft tissues.

Physiotherapy – don’t they just Treat Sports Injuries?

The aim of physiotherapy is to rehabilitate and improve a person’s ability to move and function. Physios use their expertise in anatomy and physiology to assess and treat people. While physios are mostly known for their treatment of sport injuries, they actually use a combination of manual therapy, massage, stretches, exercises and advice designed to treat a range of musculoskeletal injuries including back pain. If your injury is caused or aggravated by lifestyle factors such as frequent heavy lifting or maintaining a bad posture while sitting at your desk, a physio should provide useful tips to improve this and prevent injury re-occurrence.


So, which treatment is right or you? AXA PPP healthcare has created this handy video to show the subtle differences between each profession, in a bid to help the nation solve its ever-evolving back problem.


*Research of 2,007 UK adults carried undertaken in October 2016 by market research agency Atomik.


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About AXA PPP healthcare

AXA PPP healthcare – one of the largest and most experienced health insurance providers in the UK – has been helping people to access healthcare services since 1940. Today it forms the UK healthcare arm of AXA and provides cover for medical and dental care for individuals and employers, and employee wellbeing, counselling, occupational health and rehabilitation services through its Health Services division. AXA PPP healthcare has been named Best Healthcare Provider at the Corporate Adviser Awards 2017, Moneyfacts 2016 Best Healthcare Service and Health Insurance Provider of the Year, the European Large Contact Centre of the Year (at the European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards, 2015) and Best Customer Experience (in the Large Contact Centre category of the UK Customer Experience Awards 2015).

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