Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. 8 in 10 adults will experience back pain and have experienced back pain in their lifetimes. Many everyday actions that many of us do can be terrible for our back health which can lead to pain and other undesirable things.
There are some hidden causes of back pain including: bad posture, stress, muscle, and obesity. Americans are working longer hours now than in decades – and our bodies are feeling the effects of prolonged sitting, standing, and moving.
Main causes of injury also include: force, from lifting or moving overly heavy objects, repetition when repeating the same movements, especially when twisting the spine can lead to problems, and inactivity when sitting for long periods of time with inadequate back support.
Many common posture mistakes that can lead to back pain comprises of craning forward, which can overextend muscles in the back and shoulders which can lead to tension in those areas. Slouching your back can also contribute to back pain as the back and neck are strained by extreme and awkward backward angles, and an extended or raised neck can cause pressure on the neck, shoulder, and back.
Back pain can contribute to a surprising amount of costs. Lower back pain has historically cost Americans upwards and $100 billion per year – much due to lost wages and productivity. 50% of all working Americans have admitted to work absence due to intense back pain. This equates to about 264 million days of work lost every year due to back pain – this amounts to nearly 2 workdays missed for every full time worker.
Back pain also is costs not just time but also money for many who are suffering. Paying for healthcare can be expensive as Americans pay at least $50 billion in health care costs each year. Almost 95% can get by with moderate care and expenses, but those who need procedures and therapy may find that some costs can add up quickly.
Physical therapy per session can cost anywhere from $50 – $100, Walking assistance equipment can also cost anywhere from $50 – $100, Surgery with insurance is still costly, but not nearly as much as surgery without insurance but can cost as low as $200 and up to $2000, but without insurance, those prices can quickly inflate to huge proportions as surgery without insurance can cost as low as $50 thousand and all the way up to and upwards of $150 thousand.
Back pain can also make other things suffer. Quality of life, for example, can suffer from back pain. Pain can affect mood, concentration, and even appetite. Repetitive chores involving standing or moving can become very agonizing. Not knowing the causes of pain can also be frustrating and anxiety inducing.
So if back pain is so bad for our health and our wallets and can be so debilitating to our daily lives, what can be done to address it? A few simple, sustained lifestyle changes could make a major difference. Find out what you can do and what your employer can do to help with back pain here.