The spinal cord is the central support system of the human body consisting of 33 bones and 31 nerves. It runs from the brain at the base of the neck to your lower back, forming an S shape curve. It is an integral part of the human body that is often underestimated, unlike other organs such as the heart, brain, and kidney.

The brain and the spinal cord form the Central Nervous System(CNS), which functions as the relay system of the human body. The spine has vertebrae, intervertebral discs, spinal joints, soft tissues, and nerves. It is divided into five distinct segments that include the cervical(neck region), thoracic(middle back), lumbar(lower back), sacrum, and tailbone. It facilitates a wide variety of body functions such as walking, standing, sitting, and other forms of body movement.

It is vital to have a healthy spinal cord to live a pain-free and comfortable life free from neurological disorders and musculoskeletal pain. The most common medical conditions affecting the spinal cord include nonspecific low back pain, sprains, spinal fractures, herniated disks, spinal stenosis, arthritic conditions, spine pain, and spine tumor.

Low back pain is the most common condition experienced by patients in the United States. It affects almost every person at some point in their lives and can arise from any part of the spine, including the spinal nerves, the abdominal muscles, and other core muscles. There are two types of lower back pain, acute low back pain and chronic low back pain. They differ in severity and duration they take to fade away.

Here is a chronic pain fact sheet containing the latest information and research from various organizations such as the American Physical Therapy Association and the North American Spine Society.

What Is Chronic Lower Back Pain?

Chronic low back pain can last a long time, approximately more than three months, even when treated. It can be characterized by a dull pain, a constant ache, or a sudden sharp pain in the abdominal region. Most of the reported cases of low back pain involve acute low back pain that lasts only a few days.

Chronic pain can arise from lifting heavy objects, taking part in a strenuous workout, or being involved in an accident. Acute low back pain could also develop into chronic pain even after treatment. You need to visit a qualified specialist in your local area whenever you need pain relief from back pain.

Here are some facts you should know about chronic lower back pain.

It Is A Global Health Concern

Low back pain is a global health problem affecting close to 7.5% of the adult population. Statistics from the American Chiropractic Association show that 80% of Americans will suffer from low back pain at any point in their lives.

Around 80 million working adults in America experience low back pain symptoms every year. Close to 16 million adults eventually suffer from chronic low back pain.

It Has Several Risk Factors

Back pain is most common in people between 30 to 50 years and older but can also occur in young teenagers. Several factors such as old age, physical fitness levels, and body weight can increase the risk of developing chronic low back pain. 

You can also inherit chronic low back pain through genetic disorders such as ankylosing spondylitis. Back pain can also be caused by your mental health, general psychological state, and work-related factors.

It Is The World’s Leading Cause Of Disability.

Chronic low back pain is the leading cause of disability in adults worldwide. According to recent statistics, disability was prominent among people aged 50 to 54 years. Cases of disability caused by low back pain have increased recently, preventing more people from engaging in their daily activities.

It Is The Most Common Reason For Missed Work Days

Chronic pain research shows that it is the leading cause of missed workdays and work limitations among working adults. Chronic low back pain accounts for 260 million workdays missed in a single year. The condition makes affected workers miss 12 days on medical leave before recovering.

At least one million workers experience back injuries at their workplace every year. Close to 35% of those workers acquire injuries due to their poorly designed workspace.

It Can Affect People Of All Ages

Chronic low back pain can affect people across all age groups, from adolescents to the elderly. Although the prevalence of chronic pain increases with age, it can occur at any point in your lifetime. The highest number of people experiencing low back pain is 50 to 54 years.

It Is The Third Most Common Reason For Visiting A Doctor’s Office

Research by the Mayo Clinic shows that back pain is among the top 5 reasons people visit a doctor or a physician. Chronic low back pain is third after other musculoskeletal and skin diseases, such as skin diseases, osteoarthritis, and joint disorders.

It Is More Prevalent In Females Than Males

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention established that more females experience chronic low back pain than males. More than 30% of the female adult population experiences back pain, compared to only 25% of the male population in the country.

However, more men(31%) report work limitations due to back pain while at work than women(20%).

It Has An Impact On Your Finances

Chronic low back pain has an economic impact on you as a patient and society. Americans spend more than $50 billion every year on the treatment of low back pain. The figure can rise to more than $100 billion once you add the wages lost while missing work. The cost of treatment is determined by the severity of the pain and the method used.

It Affects The Ability To Engage In Daily Tasks

More than a third of the American adult population report that chronic low back pain limits their ability to perform daily tasks. Chronic pain also affects the exercise rate in 38% of adults and disrupts close to 37% of their sleeping patterns.

It Has Several Treatment Options

Chronic low back pain is a complex condition that does not have a common treatment procedure for all patients. Painkillers and other over-the-counter drugs are the most common forms of medication that people use to relieve pain. 

Other treatments include physical therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, epidural steroid injections, and acupuncture. The chiropractic industry also offers a viable short-term solution for chronic pain. Only 5% of Americans with back pain require surgery from neurological surgeons or spine surgeons to alleviate pain.

Orthopedic Spine Surgeon In Colorado

Only a professional spine specialist can conduct the appropriate diagnostic imaging tests and provide effective treatment options for your chronic low back pain. You risk experiencing more pain and discomfort if you choose to undergo any medical procedures without knowing the root cause of your condition.

D. Daniel Possley is an orthopedic spine surgeon who can assess, diagnose and treat any spine-related issues. He has several years of medical experience under his belt and is guaranteed to enhance the functions of your musculoskeletal system. He is fellowship-trained and board-certified to provide services to the residents of Colorado.

Contact our offices in Westminster and Wheat Ridge or visit our website for more information.