Why are so many people suffering more and more from back pain?

back pain

The WHO figures are worrying. Back pain is increasing worldwide and is affecting more and more people. Not only older people are affected, but also increasingly younger people. The consequences for health, well-being and the ability to work are dramatic. According to experts, back pain is the most common cause of long-term absence from work and many secondary illnesses. This article shows why we are increasingly suffering from back pain and what we can do about it.

The wrong workplace

We increasingly work sitting down and move far too little. On average, employees spend around 4 hours sitting down, and in the wrong posture to boot. Chairs are too uncomfortable and not ergonomic, and desks are incorrectly adjusted. This has painful consequences. Long-term incorrect posture causes our muscles and tendons to shorten, our spine to become compressed and our intervertebral discs to suffer.

Anyone can try it out for themselves: How easy is it to walk upright without pain after a sedentary day at work? Most people will certainly answer this question with a pained look. Yet, the solution is so simple. A standing desk with a height-adjustable function can provide a quick remedy. It supports an upright posture and also trains the muscles in the lower back and legs. Alternating between standing and sitting activities also boosts energy for the working day and revitalizes the metabolism.

Settings for the optimum working environment

The optimum dimensions at the workstation make the difference between comfort and effort. The desk should be adjusted so that the surface is at elbow height. A 90-degree angle is good for optimum arm posture.

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The monitor should be positioned so that the top edge of the screen is at or slightly below eye level. This avoids unnecessary tilting or turning of the head and protects against neck tension. Almost everyone also has a keyboard and mouse on their desk. They should be at the same level and easily accessible.

Insufficient physical activity

A health-threatening phenomenon in today’s society is a lack of exercise worldwide. As a result, the muscles in the back are no longer sufficiently trained and can only support an upright posture with difficulty. Many children in particular are affected by a lack of exercise due to their growing consumption of mobile phones, PCs and the like, which unfortunately often results in obesity and a lack of vitality.

Experts recommend taking small steps towards more physical activity. It doesn’t have to be the energy-sapping daily fitness program. Even small challenges are enough to get you motivated to exercise more. For example, you could start by walking at least 10,000 steps a day. This is easily achievable in everyday life. Instead of using the lift, simply take the stairs and leave the car at home more often.

Movement at work supports metabolism

We spend the majority of our day at work. If you work in an office, you can even easily integrate some sporting exercises. The standing workstation is also suitable for this. The chair is positioned slightly behind the body so that it is theoretically possible to sit down. Then start the squats with an implied sitting position. It is important that the knees never go over the tops of the feet to avoid postural damage and pain in the knees. This exercise trains the bum and thighs and also provides gentle stretching.

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Stress due to work pressure and co.

Underestimated, but still more common than expected: stress can cause muscle tension. Work pressure, personal problems and often the feeling of not being able to cope with it all put us under mental pressure. This is also noticeable in the body. Tension in the neck and back reflects our inner tension and rigid posture, almost like a faint.

This is where stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation and sufficient sleep can help. Here, too, you can start with small exercises that can be steadily built upon. Deep breathing supports relaxation. It helps to take a few deep, conscious breaths several times a day: Inhale deeply into your nose, hold your breath for a few seconds and exhale slowly through your mouth.

Progressive muscle relaxation

This technique improves body awareness by systematically tensing and relaxing different muscle groups. Starting with the feet, you work your way up to the head to release and identify physical tension. A few minutes a day is enough to feel the positive effects.


Meditating for 5–10 minutes a day can work wonders. Many choose guided meditations via apps or YouTube to center and calm the mind. This short break can fundamentally change your day.

Walks in nature

A daily walk in green surroundings clears the mind and improves mood. Even a short walk can help you to refocus and reduce stress. Ideally, find a quiet place to enjoy the full effect.


Integrating yoga into everyday life not only helps to manage stress, but also promotes flexibility and balance. Simple exercises can be performed at any time and offer an effective break from the hectic pace of everyday life.

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Mindfulness exercises

Living in the here and now is the goal of mindfulness exercises. Whether you are eating, walking or brushing your teeth – being mindful means focussing fully on the activity at hand. This practice sharpens the senses and promotes mental presence.

Keep a diary

Writing in a diary allows you to reflect deeply on your thoughts and feelings. Writing down worries and stress factors can have a liberating effect and lead to a clearer understanding of one’s own emotional world. Regular journaling is a powerful tool for self-care.

Overweight and poor diet

An unbalanced approach can also lead to back problems. In combination with a lack of exercise and too much sugar in our daily diet, this often leads to obesity. This is another trend that the WHO is concerned about. Every extra kilo puts additional strain on our spine and can lead to pain in the back and extremities. If this is compounded by a lack of exercise and poor posture, the pain will be an unpleasant and constant companion tomorrow.

The solution is theoretically basic and can start the next time you go shopping. Eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoiding so much sugar and other sweets will help you to maintain or reduce your weight. Regular exercise supports this process and also strengthens the muscles.


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