Northern Ireland is fast becoming a nation of 'slouch potatoes', research out today has revealed.
According to a survey by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) almost half of the population (42%) suffers from back pain - a dramatic rise over the past three years.
Poor posture was the most common cause of back pain and the survey also highlighted how one in five people (21%) were told they had bad posture. However 11% were doing nothing to alleviate the problem.
When questioned about the causes of their poor posture, 58% of respondents in Northern Ireland blamed slouching or being tired, 32% blamed their seating, 26% choose to slouch when they relax while 5% retreat to a bad posture if they are feeling shy or embarrassed.
Women were reportedly suffering the most - with over 50% of female respondents experiencing back pain and 13% of them claiming that they have suffered for as long as they can remember.
Tim Hutchful from the BCA said people must learn to look after their back.
He said: "We are concerned that the incidence of back pain has grown so dramatically. In 2004 one in three people were suffering, now that figure has risen so much so that every other person in the UK has some form of back pain, which is of serious concern.
"We need to educate people about the harm that can be caused by poor posture and work towards reducing the incidence of back pain. By making just a few lifestyle changes people can help to improve their posture, take care of their spine and help them look and feel their best."
The survey was carried out ahead of Chiropractic Awareness Week which starts today. The BCA has launched a 'Straighten Up UK' campaign encouraging people to incorporate a three minute exercise routine, available from www.straightenupuk.org, to help strengthen the spine and improve posture.