It is estimated that at any given time, about 65% of the population is experiencing back pain. 85% of the population will experience significant back pain at some point in their life. Back pain is the second most common reason that patients seek medical treatment behind the common cold. The economic consequence of low back pain total nearly 20 billion dollars a year.
It might seem implausible to suggest that getting rid of back pain is easy, given the severity of this epidemic. But when you consider that some studies show that most episodes of low back pain will resolve in less than 4 weeks regardless of what treatment you receive, it should make more sense.
Getting rid of acute low back symptoms is not the problem…
Keeping back pain symptoms from coming back is the real issue.
Studies show the recurrence of low back pain is 84%. And the small percentage of people who suffer from Chronic low back pain account of nearly 65% of all the costs associated with Low back pain.
The key issue should be clear: We need to focus on preventing the recurrence of low back pain, not simply the resolution of acute pain. Keeping acute back pain sufferers from evolving to chronic or reoccurring back pain victims is the real trick.
Recurrent low back pain is not only more costly, but subsequent episodes tend to cause more pain and suffering, lasting longer and reoccurring more frequently. Furthermore, studies show that impairments link to low back pain can persist, even though symptoms have resolved.
The cause of low back pain must be identified if we are to prevent it from reoccurring
Low back pain is difficult to treat, because there are so many different presentations, and thus different causes and treatment strategies. Perhaps the biggest hurdle is that there is so much misinformation about what is effective for treating and preventing various types of low back pain.
Fortunately, there is a ton of research to guide the informed. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to sift through the B.S. and get to what works, based on research, common sense, and experience. This is a big part of my mission lately, as I have been traveling around the eastern half of the country providing lectures to Physical Therapists regarding the causes, examination, and treatment of low back pain. It has been a great learning experience.
The more I learn about low back pain, the more I’m convinced that this issue can be solved, and at the very least managed so that low back pain does not get in the way of doing what you want to do. Optimizing ergonomics, spinal biomechanics, motor control, pain education, strength,stabilization, conditioning, & mobilization are among the treatment strategies the have the most promise to both address the cause, treat, and prevent low back pain.
I’ll be sharing these strategies and more at my upcoming seminar “Pain, Injury, and Exercise” on July 12th. Click here for more details.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions!