“Alarming Increase” In Prevalence Of Chronic Low Back Pain

Tiger Woods just had back surgery, his 4th:

“The surgery went well, and I’m optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain,” Woods said in a statement. “When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long.”

Maybe all that swinging contributed. But it made me wonder how many people suffer back pain. The study below kept coming up in my search. It’s a representative sample from North Carolina:

The Rising Prevalence Of Chronic Low Back Pain, JAMA Archives of Internal Medicine, February 2009

We found an alarming increase in the prevalence of chronic low back pain (LBP) from 1992 to 2006 in North Carolina, which occurred across all demographic subgroups.

The prevalence of chronic, impairing LBP rose significantly over the 14-year interval, from 3.9% in 1992 to 10.2% in 2006.

The proportion of individuals who sought care from a health care provider in the past year increased from 73.1% to 84.0%.

They also say:

Low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in US adults and a common reason for lost work days.

84% of people had enough pain that it sent them to a doctor. How many others had pain but dealt with at home with Advil? And once you’ve had one episode, the chances are really high that you’ll have another. (85% had another in their lifetime.)

These numbers are incredibly high. 84% equates to 10 out of 12 people. Most people you meet in a day have probably dealt with back pain. What do you think is behind it? The authors speculated but I’m curious what you think. (They did say it was not due to the population aging, or to increased reporting.)

If you suffer with back pain, how do you cope?

2 thoughts on ““Alarming Increase” In Prevalence Of Chronic Low Back Pain

  1. Bix Post author

    Two things they mention that are also on the rise, and that are independently and significantly linked to back pain: obesity and depression.

    But there’s more going on here, isn’t there.


  2. Pingback: Callan Pinckney: “Now, For The Wonderful Behind And Hips” | Fanatic Cook

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