Retail workers and labourers are more likely to suffer some form of pain than those who work in an office, with lower back pain the most common ailment among the workforce.
According to the 2018 Pain Index, which was compiled by pain therapist Liebscher & Bracht, a high proportion of workers reported pain in their lower back, followed by pain in the neck, shoulder and knee.
The survey of 8,000 chronic pain sufferers found that almost two-thirds of women experienced lower back pain, compared to 55% of men.
Managing health risks
Overall, retail workers were most likely to suffer lower back pain. Two-thirds (66%) of women in retail reported that they experienced lower back pain, compared with 56% of men in retail positions.
Labourers and office workers were most likely to experience neck pain (55%), while more than half (51%) of labourers said they felt pain in their shoulders.
The study split up pain-sufferers by gender and age, and into six occupations – labourer, office worker, retail worker, athlete, musician and pensioner – to see if certain industries flagged up particular health risks.
Pain specialist Roland Liebscher-Bracht commented: “This study only confirms what we’ve known for a long time about how your everyday working life can have an impact on pain conditions.
“The good news is that by recognising patterns between profession and areas of the body most likely affected, individuals in high-risk groups such as retail can take preventative measures to help them lead a healthy life.”
Liebscher & Bracht recommended that employees who repeat certain movements or stay in a particular position for long periods, such as moving heavy boxes from shelves or sitting in an office chair, would benefit from regular breaks to take a walk or carry out gentle stretches.
It said sleep deprivation could worsen pain conditions, so getting a regular amount of sleep every night could benefit workers.