More and more Germans have their backs: over 60 million days off
Back pain has become a real common ailment. The complaints are often caused by poor posture and insufficient exercise. The number of people who have had to be treated for back problems has increased significantly in recent years. Among other things, this led to around 60 million days off work.
Avoid back pain if possible
Lower back pain can also have psychological causes in some cases, but health experts say that over 80 percent of back problems are muscular. Specialists therefore usually recommend exercises to avoid back pain. Once symptoms have arisen, special exercises for back pain or heat therapy can sometimes help. In many cases, however, those affected need medical help. Ahead of the Back Health Day on March 15, experts announced that such ailments lead to more treatments and absenteeism.
More than 60 million days off due to back problems
The Bavarian State Statistical Office, for example, announced that the number of people who had been hospitalized in the Free State in the past few years because of back problems had risen sharply. And the health insurance company Barmer GEK announced that Thuringian employees are failing more and more because of back problems. On the occasion of Back Health Day, Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) published the first preliminary data from its annual health report. As can be seen from a press release by the cash register, the current evaluation shows that back complaints also caused high absenteeism last year. According to this, of the 15.4 days that the TK-insured labor force was on sick leave in 2015, almost ten percent (1.4 days) was due to back problems alone. Extrapolated to the over 43 million working people in the Federal Republic, this results in over 60 million days off.
Third place in the causes of sick leave
Gudrun Ahlers, who is responsible for health reporting at TK, said: “For a medium-sized company with 150 employees, that means 210 days of production loss per year. In other words, the company suffers damage equivalent to an annual salary solely from back complaints. ”According to TK, the main individual diagnosis of back problems is the very non-specific diagnosis of“ back pain ”, which alone accounts for half of the complaints. Back pain ranked third among the main causes of sick leave in 2015, behind respiratory infections and depressive episodes. On average, women were on sick leave longer than men.
Some professional sectors affected more
An earlier study by the health insurance company, the TK-Back Atlas, shows that there are clear differences between the industries. "Above all, jobs in the construction industry, professional drivers, nursing and cleaning staff are associated with back problems," said the TK expert. In addition, according to the TK, there are also significant regional differences: While Baden-Württemberg has the least back problems with 1.1 back-related absences per head, working people in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are the most affected with just under two days. To prevent this, TK recommends regular moderate exercise. "Because just like unhealthy physical exertion, lack of exercise is a trigger for back problems," explained Ahlers.
Good medical care for patients
In addition to the commitment to back health in company health management, it is very important that patients receive good medical care to avoid lengthy and painful sick leave. That's why TK boss Dr. Jens Baas for more quality in medical care, but rejects long-term rigid treatment programs: “The diagnosis of back pain is non-specific, the causes are varied. They affect many people in very different forms. That is why we need targeted offers that are individually tailored to the patient, ”says Baas. (Ad)