Why do I keep experiencing low back pain? This is the question that is plaguing the average person today. Researchers have been studying and looking for solutions for low back pain for a while. Some assume that the average person has become inherently lazy and does not focus on getting enough exercise. Others assume that they have a career that keeps them sitting all day and it’s to demanding on their back. Then there are those that have a job that requires a lot of heavy lifting which can also be the hard on the lower back. Here are the basic facts when looking at low back pain.
- 70-85% of ALL PEOPLE have back pain that requires treatment of some sort at some time in life.
- The annual prevalence of back pain averages 30% and once you experience it, the likelihood of recurrence is high.
- Back pain is the most common cause of activity limitation in people less than 45 years of age.
- Back pain is the 2nd most frequent reason for physician visits
- Back pain is the 5th ranking reason for hospital admissions.
- Back pain is the 3rd most common cause for surgical procedures.
- About 2% of the US workforce annually receives compensation for back injuries.
- Similar statistics exist for other countries.
So, what are the reasons back pain is so common?
- The vertically loaded spine carries more weight in the low back, shows disk and joint deterioration and/or arthritis much sooner, and we overload the back more frequently!
- We have 2 free arms to lift and carry items that often weigh way too much for our back to be able to safely handle. We also lift and carry using poor technique.
- Another reason is anatomical as the blood supply to our disks is poor at best, and becomes virtually non-existent after age 30. That makes healing of disk tears or cracks nearly impossible.
- Risk factors for increased back injury include heavy manual lifting requirements, poor or low control of the work environment, and prior incidence of low back pain.
- Other risk factors include psychosocial issues such as fear of injury, beliefs that pain means one should not work, beliefs that treatment or time will not help resolve a back episode, the inability to control the condition, high anxiety and/or depression levels, and more.
Because there are so many reasons back problems exist, since the early 1990’s, it has been strongly encouraged that we as health care providers utilize a “biopsychosocial model” of managing those suffering with low back pain, which requires not only treatment but proper patient education putting to rest unnecessary fears about back pain.
Dr. Miok Hyoun
Nova Health and Wellness