Low back pain (LBP) is the most commonly observed musculoskeletal pain disorder. About 90 percent of the world’s population faces this kind of pain at least once in a lifetime. LBP can be acute or chronic in nature. Acute LBP usually lasts up to three months. This kind of pain comes and goes with a varying number of relapses and pain intensity. Chronic back pain lasts longer than 12 weeks and the treatment causes considerable financial burden.
Prevalence of LBP
According to recent research, LBP is a major problem affecting about 11 out of every 100 people in the world. Moreover, in the coming decades the number of individuals with LBP is likely to increase throughout the world. Reasons for increase in LBP are not very clear. However, it appears that increasing rates of obesity, depression and changing nature of jobs (e.g. more people getting jobs in construction and service industry) may contribute to increased prevalence of LBP.
People suffering from LBP problems often develop major physical, social and mental disruptions, which affects their occupations and routine activities. LBP is also the highest contributor of disability in the world. A recent study from US revealed that chronic LBP results in higher costs related to lost work productivity. The lost productivity costs were reported to be $25,032 in a year per person suffering severe chronic LBP. Another study conducted among power plant workers in India found that 30 percent of production workers and 11 percent of office workers reported more than seven days of sickness absence due to chronic LBP.
LBP affects men and women equally across a wide range of age groups – from their twenties into old age. LBP is also one of the leading causes for visits to a health care provider.
As per the estimates provided by healthcare cost and utilization project 2011, in the year 2008, following are the rate and cost of hospitalizations due to LBP in the US: