Back pain is the number one problem facing the workforce in the United States today.To illustrate just how big a problem low back pain is, consider these three facts:
- Low back pain is the leading cause of disability between the ages of 19-45
- Low back pain is the leading impairment resulting from occupational injuries
- Low back pain is the second most common cause of missed work days
It is estimated that over 80 billion dollars is spent because of back pain each year, and the cost is growing. Eight out of ten people will have a problem with back pain at some time during their lives. Back pain is more likely to occur during the ages of 30 to 50, the most productive period of most people's lives. Most episodes of low back pain are self-limited, meaning that they will resolve no matter what the treatment is. But, in some people these episodes of back pain can become chronic, meaning that they do not go away.
Most people with low back pain do not simply injure their back suddenly. Over many years your back is subjected to repeated stress which may not result in pain at the time the injury to the parts of the spine actually occurs. These repeated injuries add up, and can slowly cause degeneration of the parts of the spine and low back pain. Most episodes of low back pain are at least partially the result of degenerative changes that have occurred in the back over many years. There may be an acute injury that causes your back to begin to hurt, but the overall condition of the lumbar spine is also very important. The overall condition of the spine usually determines how fast you will recover and the risk of the condition becoming chronic.