A fifth of adults have taken time off work due to being in pain from headaches or back complaints - but many keep their suffering to themselves to avoid being ‘annoying’.

A study of 2,000 adults found the average Brit experiences two headaches a week while office workers suffer from back pain twice a week.

But more than a third fail to voice their discomfort, due to a fear of annoying others, not wanting to come across as moaning or worrying that other people won’t care.

Despite this, one in five wish their family members and partners opened up more about their own physical aches.

The poll, by Nurofen to mark International Pain Awareness Month, also found that Brits could be mismanaging their pain, with one in four confused about how to treat it.

adults suffering pain silence

Credit: Getty

While experts recommend keeping active in order to help back pain, four in ten adults believe it is best to rest.

Nurofen spokeswoman Sezi Unluturk said: ‘These findings are important to shed light on how many suffer their pain in silence or mismanage their everyday pains and highlight the real impact this can have on their day to day lives, and for those around them.

‘Our own pain often gets moved to the bottom of the priority list, which is reflected in our hesitation to speak about it, and in some people’s reluctance to take action to relieve it.’

More: How to stop a headache: practical tips you can use right now

This everyday pain has an impact on relationships, with more than a quarter of sufferers admitting they have had to cancel social events.

But despite many being in pain for hours at a time, more than half prefer to wait to see if a headache passes before treating it.

‘There are simple ways people can better educate themselves on ways to manage their aches and pains,’ said Sezi.

‘By announcing these findings, we hope people will realise the benefits in doing so, both personally and for those around them.’