Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, as 8 out of every 10 adults will experience back pain in their lifetime. Many everyday things that we do can strain our backs and necks that can lead to pain and wear down our bodies. Some hidden causes of back pain are bad posture, muscle strain, obesity, and even stress. Americans are working longer hours than ever in the past few decades – and our bodies are feeling the repercussions of sitting, standing, and moving for extended periods of time. Main causes of injury relating to back pain include force, when trying to lift or move overly heavy objects, repetition, when repeating the same movements over and over, especially when twisting of the spine, and inactivity, when sitting for long periods of time with inadequate back and neck support.
Posture mistakes can also take a heavy toll on your back. Common posture mistakes are craning forward, which can lead to overextended muscles which cause tension in the back and shoulders, slouched back which can strain the back and shoulders with extreme and awkward angles, and an extended, raised neck or raised chin can cause problems and pressure on the neck, shoulder, and back.
Back pain can account for more than just pain as it can be extremely costly for those it affects as well. Lower back pain has historically cost Americans upwards of $100 billion per – much due to lost wages and productivity. Some other surprising costs of back pain are missed work as 50% of all working Americans have admitted to work absence due to back and neck pain and 264 million days of work every year due to back pain alone.
One of the major expenses that Americans pay is healthcare. Americans pay up to $50 billion in health care costs each year. Almost 95% can get by with moderate care and expenses, but those who need procedures, therapy, and surgeries may find that costs add up quickly. Physical therapy per session can cost from $50 up to $100, walking assistance equipment can be priced from $50 to $100, surgery, with insurance, can be pricey as it can cost from $200 up to $2,000, but without insurance, these prices can add up quickly as surgery without insurance can cost anywhere from $50 thousand all the way up to and above $150 thousand.
Another thing that back pain can harm is quality of life. Pain can affect mood, concentration, and even appetite to those it affects. Repetitive chores involving sitting, standing, or moving can be very difficult to maintain that same exertion repeatedly with back pain. Not knowing the causes of pain can be frustrating and anxiety-inducing.
If back pain is so discomforting, painful, prominent, and debilitating for those it affects, what can be done to prevent it? Quick fixes such as ice and heat pads can sometimes help improve symptoms but aren’t very effective at treating the origin and source of the pain. Longer-term solutions such as lifestyle changes and ergonomics can help. Find out what can be done to help treat back pain here.