Back Pain


Seventy-five percent of all people will experience back pain at some time in their lives. The total cost in lost productivity is enormous. Back pain is the second leading cause of absenteeism from work, after the common cold and accounts for 15% of sick leaves. Back injuries cause 100 million lost days of work annually, and are the most costly injury for employers. The cost of a back pain injury claim far surpasses others. The average total cost per claim in 1989, was $18,365.00.

After 52 weeks of back injury disability and absenteeism, only 25% of injured workers return to work. After two years of disability, the return rate is zero. For 85% of back pain sufferers, the primary site of injury is the lower lumbar spine.

The good news is that the vast majority of back-injured patients, probably greater than 90%, will recover completely without surgical treatment. Only 2 to 3% of the population with back pain have a herniated disc and only 1% have compression of a nerve root (leg symptoms).


1When do I need to consult my doctor for back pain?
You need to visit the doctor when your back pain persists for a week or longer. In addition, pain can migrate to other regions of the body. Further warning signs to look out for include:
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Bowel and bladder problems
2How do I know my spine is the source of my back pain?
If the pain extends to the upper extremity (forearm, hands and arms), then this could signal an issue with the cervical spine. Pain that radiates from the lower half of the body, like the legs, is a sign the cause of the discomfort could be a result of an issue with the lumbar spine.
3Could a slipped disc be the cause of my back pain?
One of the main causes of lower back pain is a slipped/prolapsed disc. Lower back pain is accompanied by numbness or pins and needles in the upper or lower extremity.