Does Health and Lifestyle Affect Musculoskeletal Pain?

By June 23, 2021Physiotherapy

An observational study conducted in 2019 investigated the association between lifestyle factors and work-related musculoskeletal pain – in particular, low back pain and chronic neck-shoulder pain – in 10,000 employees in Denmark. Unsurprisingly, health and lifestyle were reported to have a significant impact on the levels of pain experienced by these workers:

  • Physical activity reduced the risk of having low back and neck-shoulder pain by 20%.
  • Smoking increased level of pain experienced.
  • A healthy diet including eating fruits and vegetables daily was associated with less pain.
  • Conversely, alcohol consumption was not observed to impact pain levels.

It is possible you, or someone you know, suffer from low back and neck-shoulder related pain. Seeing your physiotherapist as a first line of treatment is important, as they may use hands-on techniques to first alleviate your pain, then help to guide you with movements and exercises that are appropriate for where you are in your recovery. You may also wish to discuss lifestyle changes with your physio, such as increasing physical activity, finding the right activity for you, ways to change daily work habits, as well as implement strategies to manage your musculoskeletal pain.

It is important to remember that pain is very individual and multi-factorial, and can be influenced by one’s physical, mental, or socio-economic status, as well as level of education, work, and environmental factors. If you would like to find out more, please speak to one of our friendly physios at Bend + Mend.


Kirsch Micheletti, J., Bláfoss, R., Sundstrup, E. et al. Association between lifestyle and musculoskeletal pain: cross-sectional study among 10,000 adults from the general working population. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorder 20, 609 (2019). 

Amy Wu

About Amy Wu

Amy has spent over nine years developing and refining her clinical skills and expertise as a Physio. She enjoys the challenge of guiding her patients from the beginning to the end of their recovery journey, and aims to empower her patients through education and movement. Amy is currently completing her Graduate Certificate in Sports Physiotherapy at La Trobe University and is a certified Pilates instructor through APPI. Amy has a keen interest in treating shoulder conditions and has undertaken further training with specialists in Melbourne.

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