Get back on track on World Spine Day

Article by Lorna Taylor, physiotherapist and director at Jolly Back plus survey by the University of Derby into back, knee and neck pain and other musculoskeletal problems in the early years workforce. Take part here.

By Lorna Taylor, physiotherapist

World Spine Day (16 October) is a global day of action to highlight the burden of spinal pain and disability and promote optimum spinal health.

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in lockdown measures that have restricted people’s ability to undertake physical activity and keep mobile. Working from home has led to increased reports of back and neck pain. As primary teachers and early years practitioners return to working in “child height environments”, they may be one of the working groups most affected by back and musculoskeletal pain.

Studies show that as many as 75 per cent of early years and primary teachers have problems with their backs, as well as their necks, hips and knees, which they feel are related to their work.

Back pain is the largest single cause of years lived with disability.

Living with low back pain and neck pain makes you twice as likely to suffer from:

  • mood disorders
  • anxiety
  • stress, and
  • depression.

Spinal pain and disability can affect everyone throughout their life. Whether you are 9 or 90, spine care is important for health and wellbeing.

Evidence supports regular movement and activity for the spine to function properly. Movement really is medicine. In addition to good posture, responsible lifting and healthy working conditions.


A new partnership between health, academic and early years experts (including Jolly Back, Early Years Alliance and University of Derby) has developed guidance which reduces MSD risks related to working in the sector. Training materials have been created and research launched to gather further insight into those working in the sector.

This World Spine Day, it’s ready for launch.

We’ve been working collaboratively for the past 12 months to create comprehensive and easy-to-implement guidance which promotes and enables musculoskeletal health – an area of emerging importance.

Being crammed into children’s chairs, bending awkwardly over tiny tables and stooping over low sinks understandably take their toll. This has been particularly evident this year as teachers return to classrooms across the country.

Checklist and action plan

A checklist and action plan, along with step by step practical guidance, legal considerations and a key points for practitioners poster can be found at

I’m proud and pleased to say that it’s finally ready to be shared!

Alistair Turvill, tutor and researcher at University of Derby, BA (Hons) Childhood Studies explains:

“The importance of a healthy and informed workforce in the early years is more important than ever, and developments in this area are a critical part of this.”

Pete Ellse, CEO at educational supplier Cosy, says:

“Increasingly it’s recognised that the wellbeing of teachers is crucial to a performing school workforce.”

This World Spine Day let’s all commit to getting our spines Back on Track!

Social media

#backontrack #worldspineday #spineselfie

Will you help us with our research?

The University of Derby is researching back pain, knee pain, neck discomfort or any other type of ‘musculoskeletal’ problem in the early years workforce.

The study is to better understand musculoskeletal problems suffered by early years workers and how it relates to their jobs and where they work.

By better understanding these problems we will know how to improve practitioner health and reduce any risks.

You are invited to take part in the study, which involves completing an anonymous online questionnaire (about 20 mins) about aspects of your musculoskeletal health, your early years role and the environment in which you work.

To take part and share, please click here. :



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