Every working farmer requires a healthy back to keep up with the daily heavy demands of farming. Of all musculoskeletal complaints, back pain remains the most prevalent. Data shows that 32% of farmers experienced back pain in the previous year, compared with 16% of the general Irish population. The types of back problems seen in farming have changed over the last 50 years as the work has become more automated. Diagnoses have increased with better X-rays and scans. Treatments have become more focused on rehabilitation and injury prevention and less on traditional medications. Next week’s article will deal with treatment options which are available for spine problems.

Derek Cawley, consultant spine surgeon to discuss common back problems seen in farming and the solutions that may help.