Back Facts

It’s a Fact!

Low Back Pain has been described as a 20th century epidemic, the nemesis of medicine, and an albatross of industry.

On any given day in this country, an estimated 6.5 million people are incapacitated with back pain. There are almost 1.5 million new cases every month.

About 80% of Americans will experience a bout with low back pain that can range from a dull, annoying ache to absolute agony.
— FDA Consumer, 04-01-1989, pp 28(8)

Why is this so?

The reasons for a bad back vary from slouching over a computer keyboard and sitting on an uncomfortable office chair to lifting heavy objects or overusing muscles during a weekend softball game.

Our sedentary jobs and lifestyle make us vulnerable to damage. Too much time in front of the TV, not enough exercise, poor posture and poor sleeping habits all weaken muscles. Weak muscles, especially abdominal muscles, cannot support the spine properly.

So what do you do?

A lot of people seek treatment.

Although surgery continues to be the mainstay for treating chronic back pain, physicians and pain-management specialists increasingly are looking at other ways to treat the problem, from radio frequency procedures to injections of the botulinum toxin.

Studies have shown that 90% of people with back pain will get better without surgery. Many managed care companies are taking a closer look at how back pain is treated, with the goal of moving toward nonsurgical approaches, from physical therapy to chiropractic care.

The majority of people seeking treatment solutions in the Retail Industry aren’t in need of a great deal of medical attention. Their back pain is most likely a result of bad posture, sitting in the wrong type of office chair or sleeping on a bed without support.

How it affects The Labor Industry

Each year, 1.8 million workers suffer injuries related to ergonomic factors and 600,000 people miss some work because of them, according to OSHA. Also, every year more than 90 million work days are lost at a cost of $5 billion for test, measurements and treatments of back pain.

The number of back injuries that have resulted in time away from work has decreased in the past five years. However back disorders remain the top reason people have to limit the amount of work they do.

In 1998 back disorders were the top reason for people 18 to 69 years old to have to limit the work they did, according to the National Health Interview Survey.

Persistent pain, depressive symptoms and disc disorder or sciatica bode high costs for patients with back problems. Although back injuries, pain and disabilities cannot be totally prevented or eliminated, the costs and the suffering can be reduced substantially through more effective treatment and rehabilitation.

Work Related back injury is responsible for $12 billion in worker’s compensation costs and back pain accounts for more than 100 million lost workdays each year!