40 Shocking Back Pain Statistics and Trends for 2021

Back pain is the leading cause of disability and work hindrance worldwide. But this problem had never felt so acute and alarming till these 40 shocking statistics revealed the hard truth. 

men suffering from back pain

An estimated 540 million people around the world are impacted by low back pain. This means 1 in every 10 people suffer from some symptom of back pain.

Studies show that 80% of the US population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Going by recent statistics, lower back pain costs Americans at least $50 billion in health care costs every year.

The numbers are large and alarming. Ironically, there is little that is done to effectively combat back pain considering that 55% of sufferers opt for self-treatment.

We bring you 40 of the most alarming statistics that will give you deep insights about the back health of a country that is considered as the backbone of the world’s economy.


Age and Gender Based Statistics

Back pain affects people of all ages and genders. While it affects both men and women, a women’s body crippled by the burden of fertility is more likely to suffer low back pain. The most severe cases of back pain in the US population have been recorded in the late 40’s when the majority of the population gives up a healthy regime and succumb to the pressures of work and family responsibilities, ignoring one’s health and well-being. The following figures reveal how back pain adversely affects Americans…

At any given time, about 31 million Americans experience low back pain (LBP).

Majority of Americans suffer their first attack of low back pain between the ages of 30 and 50 and it becomes more common with advancing age.

The highest rates for lower back pain have been reported in the age group 45-64 years for both men and women, followed closely by the 18-44 years.

A study reveals that women are more prone to suffer from back pain rather than men.

54% of adult Americans reported in a study that they had neck or low back pain for five years or longer.

29.9% of American women suffered from low back pain as in 2016.

Studies show that 42-75% of back pain incidents in Americans last more than a day and 33% last more than 30 days.

Over 8% of the US population reported severe low back pain.

About 32.5% of people aged 65 years and older reported low back pain in 2016.

50% of pregnant women suffer from some kind of lower back pain during their pregnancies or the postpartum period.

Statistics indicate that about 26% of men experience lower back pain in comparison to 30% of women.

Reports suggest that 1% of children in the US suffer from back pain at the age of 7, the number increases to 6% at age 10 and 18% at ages 14 to 16.


Impact of Back Pain - Statistics

Back pain can have a lasting impact…not just on your health but also on the country’s economy and the following figures just prove that. From causing permanent disability to millions of workdays lost, back pain has emerged as the leading cause of disrupting the US economy’s backbone.

businessmen suffering from back pain

1 in every 3 people reported that back pain impacts their everyday life. Back pain is the most common reason for missed work.

80% of reported people in a surveyed study revealed that they had disrupted or poor sleep due to back pain.

20% of people already suffering from acute low back pain developed chronic back pain within a year.

In America alone, 83 million days of work are lost per year due to back pain. It is the leading cause of work-loss days and work limitations.

Most numbers of back pain sufferers work in the construction, building maintenance and grounds cleaning.

47% of surveyed people in a study acknowledged that back pain affected their sexual enjoyment.

In a study, adults with back pain have reported spending almost 200 million days in bed a year.

About three-quarters or 72% of surveyed people with backbone said that they felt sad, worthless or hopeless at some point in time.


Causes of Back Pain - Statistics

Starting as a small, dull and constant pain low back pain takes shape of an acute and sharp pain that can affect your daily life. While a sedentary lifestyle and stress are the main attributes to this pain, there can be other underlying causes to low back pain like-sprains & strains, traumatic injury, fracture, herniated disc, sciatica, lumbar spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis or scoliosis. While these disorders may sound awful, the statistics relating to the causes of back pain are even more dreadful. Have a look…

3% of the US population attributes lower back pain to their jobs and a sedentary lifestyle.

30% of US citizens participating in the survey claim stress as the main cause of their back pain. 

26% attribute the pain to weak muscles and lack of exercise, whereas another 26% believe back pain is the result of physical work.


Treatments Options & Cost Statistics

While 90% of the low back pain issues are resolved in less than 6 weeks, yet most of the US population has to resort to some sort of medical treatment to get over this aching discomfort. Self-medication, visit to a physical practitioner or chiropractor and back exercises are some of the most commonly used treatment aids used by the sufferers. Besides, check out the whopping amount of expenditure that US adults make each year just to get over their annoying back pain.

chiropractor massaging back pain patient

The US alone has about 45000 licensed chiropractors with the chiropractic industry yielding an annual revenue of $13.

A detailed report suggests that in 2013, nearly 62 million visits to American hospitals, emergency departments, outpatient clinics and physician offices included a diagnosis of back pain.

About 40% of US population seeks the help of primary care physician for back pain, another 40% seeks the help of chiropractor while only 20% depend on a super-specialist for relieving their back pain.

Based on an online survey conducted in 2018 for different types of back/neck pain, the maximum percentage of US adults about 18% visited a health care professional for lower back pain, followed by 14% for neck pain, 10% each for upper back pain and middle back pain.

Recent estimates suggest that in the US alone, about $86 billion is spent annually on back pain.

In 2017, 55% of Americans suffering from back pain treated their pain.

In 2017 about 73% of US adults took non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs for their neck or back pain.

In 2013, the average age of persons hospitalized for low back pain was 61.8 years. Whereas, the average age of patients visiting emergency rooms was 49.4 years, for out-patient departments it was 47.2 years and 54.5 years for visits to physicians.

32% of back pain sufferers in the US use physical rest to improve their pain, 30% perform back exercises, 13% exercise at a gym to relieve their pain and 25% of the sufferers use a heating pad to get relief from the pain.

Only 5% of Americans with back pain need spinal surgery.

Between 2012 and 2017, US adults’ use of chiropractic care increased from 1% to 10.3%.


Recovery & Recurrence Statistics

While the recovery rates of back pain are good and most people get over their aches with proper medication and therapy yet chances of recurrence can never be ruled out. Check out these statistics to see how Americans recover from their low back pain and what chances do they stand to face the agony of the pain again…

33% of back pain sufferers reported relapse of pain within a year.

60-80% of back pain patients experience the same issues within two years of first reporting the problem.

back pain patient work out

Reports reveal that low back pain improved significantly for patients within 6 weeks and after 12 months, the level of pain was considerably low. However, 66% of the surveyed Americans reported some pain at 3 months and 12 months.


Sleep & Back Pain Statistics

Back pain can disturb sleep grossly and leave you tossing and turning in bed with a stiff spine in the morning. The following statistics reveal how Americans fight or curb back pain to have a sound sleep at night.

63% of Americans believed that a medium-firm mattress helped them relieve their back pain.

A study suggests that a new mattress reduced its participant’s back pain by 48% and improved sleep quality by 55%.

As of 2017, 59% of American used heat patches at bedtime to relieve their back pain.

22% of US adult population in the age group 40-64 report less than 6 hours of daily sleep due to low back pain.

The above 40 alarming statistics bring us close to reality and reflect the spine health of a country that is considered a forerunner in healthcare with an advanced medical history. While back pain may not sound like a very alarming and immediate health threat yet in the long run it can have devastating effects as reflected by the surprising numbers discussed above. Considering the above figures, one can guess the engulfing presence of chronic back pain amongst the US population and how it is crippling their everyday life and work schedules. It is time they focus on their back before these alarming numbers send a chill down their spine!

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