Regular Breaks Ease Work-Related Back Pain

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Physiotherapists are urging office workers to take a break from their desk every 20 minutes after research revealed that most are suffering from back or neck pain.

A survey of almost 2,000 office staff found that more than two-thirds had pains in their back, neck or upper limbs because they sat for too long at their workstation.

Most of those polled by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists complained of being "chained" to their desks for almost 100 minutes without a break - five times longer than suggested.

One in four admitted they never left their desk for a break for three hours, while 5% remained seated for more than six hours.

Sarah Bazin, chairwoman of the society's council, said: "Back pain is still rife in the workplace, resulting in sickness absence and reduced performance. Many cases could easily be prevented, which would save money for businesses."

Almost five million working days were lost through bad backs in 2003/4, according to Health & Safety Executive figures.

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