Back pain affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. It is one of the most common medical issues for which people self-medicate or do an online search for ‘the best orthopedic doctor near me.’
Back pain is the most common reason that many people are unable to work or participate in other daily activities. It is one of the most common reasons for being absent from work. Most back pain is harmless. It usually begins abruptly and lasts for several days or weeks. Back pain can be anything from a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing pain. Resting and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help. However, staying in bed for more than a day or two can aggravate the situation. The cause is sometimes obvious, and other times not even a team of doctors can figure out why your back hurts, which can be concerning.
Common Global Issue
According to the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, low back pain is one of the top ten diseases and injuries worldwide. However, because the incidence of first-ever episodes of low back pain is already high by early adulthood and symptoms tend to recur over time, it’s difficult to estimate the incidence of low back pain. In industrialized countries, the lifetime prevalence of non-specific (common) low back pain is estimated to be 60 percent to 70 percent (one-year prevalence 15 percent to 45 percent, adult incidence 5 percent per year). Children and adolescents have a lower prevalence rate than adults, but it is increasing. Between the ages of 35 and 55, the prevalence rises and peaks. Low back pain will become more common as the world’s population ages, owing to the deterioration of intervertebral discs in the elderly.
In many parts of the world, low back pain is the leading cause of activity restriction and work absence, putting a significant financial strain on individuals, families, communities, industry, and governments. Between 1990 and 2015, the number of years lived with disability due to low back pain increased by 54% worldwide. Every year, one-half of all working Americans report having back pain symptoms. In a single year, back pain accounts for over 264 million lost workdays, or two days for every full-time worker in the country. According to experts, up to 80% of the population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. People of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly, can suffer from back pain. Low back pain was identified as the most common cause of disability in young adults in the United Kingdom, accounting for more than 100 million lost workdays per year. According to a survey conducted in Sweden, low back pain was responsible for a quadrupling of the number of workdays lost from 7 million in 1980 to 28 million by 1987. The existence of social compensation systems in Sweden, according to the authors, may account for some of this increase. Every year, an estimated 149 million workdays are lost in the United States due to low back pain, with total costs ranging from $100 to $200 billion (of which two-thirds is due to lost wages and lower productivity).
According to Wu, et al., the global prevalence and Years Lived with Disability (YLD) rates from low back pain decreased slightly from 1990 to 2017, but the number of low back pain sufferers and YLDs increased significantly. The prevalence increased with age, and YLDs peaked between the ages of 35 and 49. Low back pain remains the leading global cause of YLDs, but it is still under-recognized as a disease burden in the population, with a significant gap persisting between the level of burden and policy, research, and healthcare response.
What Could Cause Back Pain?
Bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles make up the back, which is a complex structure. It is one of the strongest parts of the body, providing us with incredible flexibility and strength. The structures of our spine, such as the joints, discs, and ligaments, age with us. Although the structures remain strong, it is common for our backs to become stiffer as we age. Ligaments can be sprained, muscles can be strained, disks can be ruptured, and joints can be irritated, all of which can cause back pain. While sports injuries or accidents can result in back pain, even the most basic movements, such as picking up a pencil from the floor, can be painful. Back pain can also be caused or aggravated by arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress. Internal organ disease, such as kidney stones, infections, blood clots, or bone loss, can cause back pain directly. If you are struggling with back pain, consider doing an online search for the best orthopedic doctor near me to seek treatment.
Poor posture, a lack of exercise that causes stiffening of the spine and weak muscles, and muscle strains or sprains are all common causes of back pain. There are also certain medical conditions that are linked to back pain. It’s important to keep in mind that severe pain does not always imply a serious problem. Back pain frequently occurs without a known cause that can be determined by a test or imaging study. It can also be caused by a systemic illness, such as ankylosing spondylitis, or something more serious, such as a tumor or infection.
How common is back pain?
After skin disorders and osteoarthritis/joint disorders, back pain is the third most common reason for doctor visits. It is mostly mechanical or non-organic, which means it isn’t caused by serious conditions like inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture, or cancer. Most people who experience low back pain recover; however, recurrence is common, and for a small percentage of people, the condition becomes chronic and disabling. Due to factors such as previous occupation and degenerative disk disease, the risk of developing lower back pain increases as people get older. You might consider adding an orthopedic doctor to your yearly check up if you find that back pain bothers you as you get older.
Back pain as a cause of disability and absence from work
One of the most common causes of disability is low back pain. Low back pain (LBP) is defined as pain in the area on the posterior aspect of the body from the lower margin of the twelfth ribs to the lower gluteal folds with or without pain referred into one or both lower limbs that lasts for at least one day, according to Global Burden of Disease studies. In their 2010 study, of all 291 conditions studied, low back pain ranked highest in terms of causing disability. It affects people’s quality of life and work performance in similar proportions across cultures and is the most common reason for medical consultations. It affects people of all ages, from children to the elderly, and occurs in high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries. Back pain disability claims are a significant cost driver for employers; the average cost of a long-term disability claim for back pain is $35,000 per active claim, per year.
According to Hadler, dealing with inadequacies exacerbated by a hostile environment and aggravated by legal and compensation issues not only complicates our understanding of back pain but also frequently prevents appropriate treatment and a good prognosis. The population in the Low-income bracket may be more likely to suffer from incapacitating low back pain.
For a variety of reasons, low back pain goes unnoticed. For example, where manual labor is the norm, the absence of one laborer due to back pain is barely noticed if another is available to do the work; in industrialized settings, where time and money have been spent on training an employee, absence is more likely to be noticed, and substitution is frequently impossible. It is more common in people with physically demanding jobs, physical and mental comorbidities, smokers, and obese people. Compensation is frequently obtained through sick funds, social security, and compensation systems.
Research on Back pain as a cause of absence from work
Low back pain has been researched in two multidisciplinary publications: Low back problems in adults and the report on WHO’s own survey results Low back pain initiative. Both agreed that most people can work despite having a back problem, but that it’s critical to recognize the prevalence of these symptoms so that effective prevention and treatment can be provided.
In terms of the link between back pain and missed work, smoking, weight gain, and the weight of carried loads are all significant risk factors for missed work.
- Smoking exacerbated low back pain in automotive workers, according to Oleske et al.
- A previous study found that body weight gain was a risk factor for low back pain, which is consistent with our findings. Low back pain and obesity have a significant, positive causal relationship, according to Heuch et al. Miranda et al. found that low back pain was related to physical workload (a composite measure that included heavy lifting, awkward postures, and whole-body vibration) in workers under the age of 50, but not in workers over the age of 50. (The sum of smoking, excessive body weight, and lack of physical exercise.)
- Working in a half-sitting posture and frequently raising or extending the arms were both linked to back pain. According to Alexopoulos et al., unmarried individuals who worked night shifts and had a low level of education were more likely to miss work due to low back pain. Uncomfortable work postures (extreme bending, neck, or back twisting, working primarily while standing or squatting, etc.) were found to contribute to prolonged work absences, according to Lund et al. Lifting heavy loads, pulling objects, kneeling, and squatting were identified as significant risk factors for low back pain in newly employed workers by Harkness et al. A history of low back pain, repeated lifting actions, and repetitive work were all significant risk factors, according to Matsudaira et al., who studied the incidence of low back pain over two years.
Back Pain Treatment Options
Back pain prevention and treatment are frequently effective. While 92% of workers with musculoskeletal disorders reported symptoms, the majority had a good prognosis, according to Andersen et al. Low back pain in automotive industry workers was relieved by stress reduction, exercise, and physical activities other than work, according to Oleske et al., who encouraged these workers to exercise and reduce stress to alleviate low back pain. Because work environment and psychosocial factors are linked to the progression of symptoms, changing positions at work regularly has been recommended for reducing low back pain. Mental stress has also been linked to the development or worsening of low back pain, so workplace mental health services should be considered.
Currently, analgesics are the primary treatment for low back pain. Lower back pain causes are rarely addressed. Physical therapy, rehabilitation, and spinal manipulation are examples of alternative treatments. When all other options have been exhausted, disc surgery is the last resort,. . If you are considering disc surgery, please make sure to do your research and make sure you look for the best orthopedic doctor for your specific needs.
It’s possible that low back pain develops without a clear cause. When this happens, the focus shifts to treating the symptoms (rather than the underlying cause) and the patient’s overall health. A thorough diagnosis is required for subacute and chronic lower back pain to lay the groundwork for effective treatment and rehabilitation. Lower back pain treatment helps to prevent the development of chronic lower back pain by reducing the likelihood of recurrent back pain flare-ups.
Hypnosis may also assist in pain relief. Low back pain can also be treated with progressive muscle relaxation, depending on the cause. This is a technique for reducing anxiety that involves becoming more aware of how you can tense and then relax your body. Furthermore, there is some evidence that combining psychiatric medication with psychotherapy is more effective than either treatment alone.
The results of Wynne-Jones et al. systematic review and meta-analysis indicated that nearly one-fifth of workers with back pain take time off for at least six months. Most people who miss work due to back pain return; pooled estimates were 68% at up to one month, 85% at one to six months, and 93% at six months.
Back pain can affect anyone, including children. It’s a common condition, and the older you get, the more likely you are to get it. Most back pain episodes will resolve on their own after treatment. You may occasionally require medical assistance from your doctor, such as prescription medication, injections, and surgery. You can take steps to prevent back pain if you’ve had it before and want to avoid it again. Stretching, yoga, and strength training daily can help to strengthen and resiliency your back and core muscles.
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