Men are suffering back pain from an earlier age as fitness standards drop, experts warn.
Office jobs and lack of exercise mean many men do not have the core muscle strength to properly support their frames.
Chiropractors warn today that the number of patients they see for back pain is rising – and problems are starting at an earlier age.
Back pain first hits men at the age of 37 on average, the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) claims – significantly younger than in the past.
Tim Hutchful, a BCA chiropractor who runs a practice in Leicester, said: ‘We are seeing it happen maybe three or four years earlier than in years gone past.
‘The mid-to-late-thirties group are not as active today. People who are in their sixties now had a much, much more active lifestyle when they were in their thirties than the current 30-year-olds.’
A survey of 2,100 British men, commissioned by the BCA, suggests that 82 per cent live with regular neck or back pain.
When they carried out a similar survey a year ago, the figure was 75 per cent.
Those who took part in the study were asked the age at which they first suffered back pain, with 37 the average answer.
Mr Hutchful said: ‘People now have lifestyles when part of their life is very sedentary and then another part is manic.
‘They might commute to work in their car, they sit on their backsides all day, then play five-a-side football once a week – and that is when the problems happen.’
He said that regular exercise – such as walking every day – would better protect people against injury when they are called upon to do unusual activities.
Moving heavy objects was the trigger for back pain in 47 per cent of respondents.
Women also suffer back pain but Mr Hutchful said men are worse at seeking help, often taking pills to deal with the issue instead.
Rishi Loatey, a chiropractor from North-West London, said: ‘The modern man is certainly feeling the strain as we constantly juggle busy lives – working longer hours, tackling DIY and looking after the kids – it all takes its toll, but worryingly we’re seeing younger men coming through our doors who aren’t looking after themselves.
‘There is no real correlation between weight and back pain, rather the link is between poor muscle tone and back pain – people who are overweight do tend to have poor muscle tone so it’s important they focus on strengthening the muscles in their back.
‘Like with most things, prevention is better than cure which is why it’s so important to seek help from a healthcare professional if you experience pain for more than a couple of days.’