Although doctors of chiropractic treat more than just back pain, many patients initially visit a chiropractor looking for relief from this pervasive condition. In fact, about 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time. In this article, Physio Logic Head Chiropractor, Dr. Stephen Szaro, DC, covers common causes, facts, and statistics of back pain.
Interesting Facts about Back Pain
- Worldwide, back pain is the single leading cause of disability, preventing many people from engaging in work as well as other everyday activities.
- Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.
- Back pain accounts for more than 264 million lost work days in one year—that’s two work days for every full-time worker in the country.
- Experts estimate that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives.
- Back pain can affect people of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly.
- Back pain is the third most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, behind skin disorders and osteoarthritis/joint disorders.
- Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
- Most people with low back pain recover, however reoccurrence is common and for small percentage of people the condition will become chronic and disabling.
- Worldwide, years lived with disability caused by low back pain have increased by 54% between 1990 and 2015.
- Low-back pain costs Americans at least $50 billion in health care costs each year—add in lost wages and decreased productivity and that figure easily rises to more than $100 billion.
Back Pain Causes
The back is a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks, and irritate joints, all of which can lead to back pain. While sports injuries or accidents are common back pain causes, sometimes the simplest of movements—for example, picking up a pencil from the floor, can have painful results. In addition, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can cause or complicate back pain. Back pain can also directly result from disease of the internal organs, such as kidney stones, kidney infections, blood clots, or bone loss.
Research Supports Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation
With today’s growing emphasis on quality care, clinical outcomes, and cost effectiveness, spinal manipulation is receiving increased attention. The epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse has also led to wider acknowledgment of the benefits of non-drug approaches to pain.
Spinal manipulation is a safe and effective non-drug back pain treatment. It reduces pain (decreasing the need for medication in some cases), rapidly advances physical therapy, and requires very few passive forms of treatment, such as bed rest.