We’ve all experienced back pain at some point in our lives. Whether from poor posture sitting at a desk or performing heavy duty manual jobs. With so many sufferers of lower back pain, we thought we’d share the ten most interesting facts.
- According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, preventing many sufferers from working and accounts for over 264 million workdays lost in one year alone!
- $100bn is the estimated amount lower back pain costs Americans each year through healthcare costs and lost wages.
- 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives and is one of the most common reasons to visit the doctor.
- Lower back pain lasting between 4 and 12 weeks is called subacute. Back pain lasting 12 weeks or longer, even after the underlying cause is treated, is defined as chronic back pain. Approximately 20% of people suffering subacute lower back pain will develop chronic lower back pain.
- Back pain can affect anyone but it’s far more common in people aged between 35 and 55 years old.
- Lower back pain, also known as lumbago, is usually a symptom of damage or stress to ligaments, tendons, muscles, or spinal discs. Sometimes pain can be felt in the buttocks and thighs caused by an irritated or pinched nerve in the back – this is known as sciatica and can be incredibly painful.
- Even something simple like sneezing and coughing can cause lower back problems.
- 90% of acute lower back pain issues are resolved within six weeks.
- Less than 5% of people who suffer with back pain are suitable for surgery.
- People who are overweight, not used to exercise, or are generally unfit are the most affected by lower back pain.
Preventing and treating lower back pain
Luckily, there are many ways to prevent and treat lower back pain. These can include:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Being generally active, making sure to stretch before any physical activities.
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
- Sleep on a medium-firm mattress.
- Ensure your workstation is ergonomically correct.
- Ensuring the correct diagnosis is important to get the best treatment, therefore a thorough medical history should always be performed when seeking medical advice along with a physical examination followed by additional diagnostic tests if needed. This could include an X-ray or MRI scan.
- Paracetamol is usually effective in treating most cases of back pain, but a stronger painkiller such as codeine, is also an option.
- If muscle spasms are present, diazepam can be taken but often people find ibuprofen more effective.
- Physical therapy such as physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic treatment can help with back pain. These treatments involve exercises, massage, and advice on posture.
- Injections for lower back pain can help to administer local anaesthetic and anti-inflammatories directly to the source of pain. These injections are performed using ultrasound imaging to shorten procedure time and give real-time needle guidance. This gives accurate results allowing patients to maintain a pain-free lifestyle.