Growth of the Lower Back Pain Endemic Worldwide | Modern Manual Therapy Blog - Manual Therapy, Videos, Neurodynamics, Podcasts, Research Reviews

Growth of the Lower Back Pain Endemic Worldwide

Growth of the Lower Back Pain Endemic Worldwide -

In a recent article in The Lancet Rheumatology, researchers show how lower back pain is a rapidly escalating global issue, affecting an estimated 619 million people in 2020 – nearly 10% of the world’s population. Experts predict that this number will reach 843 million by 2050.

Compounding problems in the lower back epidemic

Asia and Africa are expected to experience the most significant rise in lower back pain cases. These regions often already face challenges due to limited and overburdened social support systems and healthcare resources.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the problem. Increased inactivity due to lockdowns and poor ergonomics from remote work setups have contributed to the intensity and prevalence of lower back pain. Additionally, limited access to healthcare services during the pandemic has added to the suffering of individuals already affected by this condition.

It’s important to consider that the provided figures may underestimate the true burden, as they do not fully account for the impact of the pandemic.

The Societal Burden of Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain imposes a substantial burden on society and the economy. In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service spends nearly £5 billion annually on general practitioner appointments alone for this condition.

Similarly, the cost of lower back and neck pain in the United States reached a staggering $134 billion in 2016. Of course, the consequences extend beyond the financial costs.

Lower back pain leads to increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, and early retirement, particularly among the working-age population. There is also a strong association between lower back pain and higher rates of depression, leading to prolonged disability and hindering recovery.

The researchers warn it is crucial to address the societal impact of lower back pain and develop comprehensive strategies to mitigate its effects.

Addressing the Issue of Back Pain Globally

Addressing the global issue of lower back pain will require immediate attention and collaborative efforts. Solutions should prioritize strategies aimed at alleviating lower back pain in the workplace, where many people spend a significant part of their time.

Implementing ergonomic practices and promoting physical activity can help prevent and reduce the problem of lower back pain. Moreover, improving access to rehabilitation services is essential for effective management and recovery.

Specialized training for healthcare practitioners in the treatment of lower back pain can lead to better outcomes and patient care. Additionally, reducing reliance on ineffective and potentially harmful treatments, such as opioids, is crucial.

Finally, the researchers stress that governments, healthcare systems, and policymakers must work together to prioritize lower back pain and allocate resources effectively. By taking proactive measures, we can alleviate the burden of lower back pain and improve the quality of life for millions of individuals worldwide.

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