If you are currently suffering from back pain, or have experienced it before, you're not alone. The statistics on the prevalence of back-related pain are nothing less than shocking:
- According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1994, at any point in time over 31 million people in America are experiencing lower back pain. Up to 85% of people worldwide will experience back pain at some point in their lives.
- 50% of Americans in the work force report symptoms of back pain every year. One third of them over the age of 18 have had back pain severe enough to require professional help within the last five years.
- Back pain has been reported as the second most common reason (second only to upper respiratory infections) for visits to a healthcare provider, and is one of the most frequent reasons given for having to miss work.
- The primary cause of disability for those under the age of 45 is back pain. The yearly cost of care for back pain has been estimated at 50 billion dollars, surpassed only by the cost of care for cancer and heart disease.
Interestingly, most cases of back pain are mechanical, as opposed to being caused by more serious medical conditions such as infection, arthritis, fractures, or cancer. Some are caused by sports injuries or accidents, but others can be triggered by nothing more severe than bending down to pick up a dropped pencil. Still others are caused by misalignments of the spine, neck and joints that have built up over many years, as opposed to being caused by a single trauma.
Most of these conditions can be successfully treated by Doctors of Chiropractic, who use manipulation of the spine and other joints to relieve not only the immediate pain itself, but the underlying causes of it. Over time, chiropractors can help to return your spine and whole body to a more normal state of health, in which reoccurrences of back pain are less likely to appear.
In other words, if you are one of the four out of five people who will experience back pain in your lifetime, you can do something about it. This is important to know, because a survey conducted by the American Physical Therapy Association found that although two-thirds of Americans experience low back pain, over a third of them don't seek professional help for it.
Chiropractic care is a safe, effective, and above all – because it is non-invasive and uses no drugs that may have potential negative side effects – conservative approach to the treatment of back pain. The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research conducted a study of all available care for lower back problems and recommended spinal manipulation as the safest and most effective initial treatment of lower back pain in adults. So if you're experiencing back pain, ask your friends or your primary care physician for a referral to a trusted Doctor of Chiropractic; all you have to lose is your pain.