News release

Andrea Budd
Communications Manager, Interactive
+44 (0) 203 042 4893 Tel Email

Money troubles hurt more than just the wallet
Economy is literally a pain in the neck

Nottingham, UK, 23 November 2009 - The effect of the downturn has begun to manifest itself on the physical and mental health of the nation. A new phenomenon - Recession Strain Injury - has been identified by Experian’s and Chartered Physiotherapist Sammy Margo following a 25% increase in stress related injuries seen in her clinic - suggesting that many people are suffering physically as a result of increased financial strain.

Some of the key symptoms of Recession Strain Injury that have been identified include neck, shoulder and arm pain, pins and needles, middle and lower back pain. Research from CreditExpert reveals the potential source as millions of Britons admit they are under enormous financial pressure.  6.8 million1 Britons feel that they owe more money than they can manage and 9.7million2 feeling they are at the limit of what they can cope with. Using a range of measures  including income, long term employment prospects, assets and savings, the research shows the biggest financial stress ‘hotspots’, and therefore those potentially most at risk, are scattered across Wales, Scotland and the Midlands.

Chartered Physiotherapist Sammy Margo said: "A typical response to stress is that muscles tighten and go into spasm. With prolonged stress this worsens and as a result, leads to aches and pains. We have seen more people suffering from stress related issues during the downturn and concerns around personal finances are frequently mentioned by clients as a source of worry and stress. Physiotherapists can offer simple tips and exercises to help prevent and alleviate these symptoms."

Darryl Bowman from CreditExpert commented: "Could the cause of your stiff neck and shoulders be financially related? If so you could be suffering from a Recession Strain Injury.

"Protect yourself from Recession Strain Injury by making positive steps to take control of your finances.  Simply putting plans in place could help to reduce tension."

In light of these findings, CreditExpert and Sammy Margo have come up with practical advice to help alleviate the symptoms of Recession Strain Injury and enable Britons to get back in control. Key tips include drinking plenty of water and taking time out of a working day to rebalance your body with a short walk or massage.  When it comes to your finances, top tips include using a budget to plan and manage your outgoings, and  checking your credit report regularly to see what you owe and how you’re coping.

Do you have Recession Strain Injury?  Spot the symptoms:
- Neck, shoulder, arm pain
- Pins and needles in the hand
- Middle and lower back pain
- Poor posture
- High stress levels
- Low energy levels
- Exhaustion
- Difficulty sleeping
- General feelings of malaise

How to avoid Recession Strain Injury:
- Breathe deeply. It will calm you down and increase your concentration levels.
- Adopt a good posture. Make sure you are adopting good posture whilst at your workstation. Check your computer monitor is the correct height, your chair is supportive and your   back and knees are resting comfortably at a 90° angle and your feet are flat on the floor. This will minimise the risk of neck and back pain.
- Take time to do gentle exercise each day. Exercise in the daylight every day. A 15-20 minute walk at lunchtime will help clear your mind and aid digestion.
- Keep hydrated. This will help flush out toxins and keep all systems including your muscles, digestion and nervous system in order.
- Loosen up. Whilst sitting at your workstation, roll your shoulders backwards 10 times every hour to minimise tightness in your shoulder/neck area. When walking interlink your fingers behind your back and when standing pull your navel into your spine fully and release by 50% and try to hold this for as long as you can.
- Take control of your finances. Review your spending, set a budget and stick to it. Check your credit report online regularly to keep on top of your finances. Review your credit report before applying for new credit to make sure it’s in good shape, and improve it if you can – it could help towards getting a better deal.

How to combat Recession Strain Injury:
Carry out your own massage.
If you are experiencing tension in your neck, place your hands at the base of your skull and, using small circular movements, massage along the neck and up onto the scalp. Place your right hand over the left shoulder and work in towards the spine. Repeat on the other side. If you find a particularly tender area, apply pressure and breathe deeply until the pain goes. 
- If your lower back is tight then use gently clenched fists to rub along the top of the pelvis to reduce the tension. Kneading the buttocks may also help.
Take active steps by trying to identify your ‘stressors’ and developing strategies to overcome them. 


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2043 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th - 22nd June 2009.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

The poll revealed:
1 14% of Britons feel they owe more money than they can manage. 14% of the British adult population (48,438,000 according to the latest ONS statistics) equates to 6,781,320 British adults.
2 20% of Britons feel they owe as much as they can manage. 20% of the British adult population (48,438,000 according to the latest ONS statistics) equates to 9,687,600 British adults.

Financial Hotspots Data

Data from the Experian Insight Report compiled from a range of factors including levels of personal debt, income, long term employment prospects, assets and savings.

Top 20 UK AREAS Suffering most financial stress

Local Authority

Household Financial Stress Index

Blaenau Gwent


Kingston upon Hull, City of




Glasgow, City of




Merthyr Tydfil


West Dunbartonshire




South Tyneside














North East Lincolnshire