Two out of five Britons take to their beds in the hope this will ease their pain, even though studies show that resting prolongs pain, reduces mobility and extends recovery time.
A study of 1,000 people aged 25-65 with aches and pains, commissioned by the Simplyhealth Advisory Research Panel (ShARP), found that more than a third (35%) thought bed rest was the remedy.
Team GB kayaker, sports scientist and physiotherapist Paul Hobrough from the Simplyhealth Advisory Research Panel (ShARP) comments: "People get trapped in a cycle where their lack of exercise not only exacerbates their pain and stiffness, it also leads to muscle wastage. This in turn can result in weight gain, placing even more stress on already painful joints.
He adds: "Prevention, timely treatment and ongoing advice from a health professional can make a real difference in terms of heading off problems."
The study also reveals that:
The lower back is the nation's number one sore spot.
Overweight people suffer joint pain daily 99% of over 50s have back pain.
Working at the computer takes its toll due to our static stature as we work.
More women than men are suffering from musculoskeletal health issues.
Brits neglect musculoskeletal health.
Aches and pains associated with the body's skeleton and muscles are a fact of life for hundreds of thousands of people in the UK, with back pain alone affecting four out of five people at some time in their lives.
Musculoskeletal conditions cost the UK £5.7 billion a year and result in 10 million lost working days.
While people visit the dentist when they have toothache and see an optician if their eyesight worsens, 89.5% of those with pain in their lower back and joints appear to be reluctant to consult a physiotherapist who could devise an exercise programme to suit their needs.
Physiotherapists can not only help with pain management approaches but, more importantly, treat the problem. Workouts guided by a physiotherapist can improve symptoms, according to a BMJ report, but only 6% in the study used them, with 42% saying pain stopped them from exercising as much as they would like.
Worryingly, three out of four did not seek advice about musculoskeletal problems, mistakenly believing they needed a GP referral to see a physiotherapist.
While many (90.1%) are aware that exercises such as swimming, yoga and pilates can help with muscle and joint pain, over 50% admitted to doing nothing to help their musculoskeletal health.
The benefit of physiotherapy is recognised most by the under 40s with one in five going to a physiotherapist for treatment compared with one in seven over 40s.
Pain impacts on relationships
The study identifies the lower back as the nation's number one sore spot with seven out of ten complaining of problems in this area. It also reveals that those who weigh more than 14 stone are much more likely to suffer pain on a daily basis.
Just under a quarter (24%) of participants could not lift things 20% could not walk for long periods of time 9% said their pain has such a huge impact on their lifestyle they are unable to play with their children or climb stairs
One in four were worried about their future health as a result of their pain and 23% felt helpless in dealing with it. It also impacts on their love life, with 13% saying they are less interested in their romantic relationships as a result of their pain.
A weighty problem
Arthritis is the most common cause of musculoskeletal problems in the UK, with more than 10 million people per annum consulting a doctor about it. The problem continues to rise as a result of the growing issue of obesity in the UK.
Obesity and joint pain is a dangerous combination, as pain often limits physical activity and this increases weight gain, putting even more pressure on the back and joints. The ShARP study shows there is a direct link between weight and back problems, with almost all of those (99.5%) weighing 14 stone or more reporting problems. Knee pain in those weighing 14 stone or more (33%) was also almost twice that of those who weigh 9.5 stone or under (19%).
How tall you are causes problems
Stature also has an effect on musculoskeletal pain with the ShARP study showing that lower back pain affects 90% of people who are six foot or taller compared with an average of 70% for those under this height. Height can also trigger problems around the neck and shoulders with 75% of those 6ft4ins or more reporting problems compared with only 51% who were average height.
Those with pain in their neck and shoulders tended to spend more time at a computer, with 71% saying they hunched over a screen for more than six hours a day.
23% of those suffering from musculoskeletal issues blamed their work environment where they remained in the same position for lengthy periods and 16% claimed the chair they had at work was a factor. However, more than a third (34%) put musculoskeletal pain down to an inevitable part of ageing.
Women suffer more pain than men. In the ShARP study one in three of the women had painful knees compared with one in five men.
Around 40% of women said their joint problems made them feel old before their time and 28% were depressed and frustrated. Only 25% of men said pain made them feel older and 23% reported being depressed.
Age takes its toll
The ShARP survey reveals back pain becomes more common as we age, with 99% of over 50s reporting a problem in their back. Pain and stiffness doubles with age, with one in three over 55s reporting daily discomfort compared with just one in six 25-30s.
It seems that younger people do however, suffer more neck and shoulder pain with 30% reporting pain in this area compared to 17% of over 55s. Hunching over computer screens could be the reason that this figure is higher in the younger generation.
Painkillers are the most commonly used treatment for back pain by over 50s with 63% resorting to them. Long term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause  gastric problems and are associated with a slightly increased risk of heart attack or stroke and therefore not recommended for anyone with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.
Dr Gill Jenkins of ShARP says: "Over the counter painkillers can be very useful, particularly for acute episodes, but it is not wise to take them for long periods without consulting your GP, particularly if you have any underlying problems. It is important that people with persistent aches and pains discuss their options with their doctor, physiotherapist or other health professional."