BACK PAIN INFORMATION
Back Pain Types and Diagnosis
Back pain is usually defined as pain localized in the Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar, or Pelvic region of the back; and it can be classified as “specific” (suspected pathological cause) or “non-specific” (about 90% of cases). A back pain episode is considered acute if it lasts less than six weeks; subacute if the duration is between six weeks and three months; and chronic when it persists for more than three months. Frequent episodes are described as recurrent back pain. Recurrent and acute back pain episodes affect 20–44% of persons in the working population annually, with lifetime recurrences of up to 85%.
The Cost and Prevalence of Back Pain
Back pain is the second most common cause of disability in adults from the USA and a common reason for lost work days. An estimated 149 million days of work per year are lost because of back pain. The condition is costly, with total costs estimated to be between $100 and $200 billion annually, two-thirds of which are due to decreased wages and productivity. The Incidence and prevalence of back pain is very common, but varies according to the definitions used and the population studied. New episodes are twice as common in people with a history of back pain. Lifetime prevalence is 58–84% and the point prevalence (proportion of population studied that are suffering back pain at a particular point of time) range is 4–33%.
Treatment Options for Back Pain
The main treatment goal for most back pain is to control the pain, maintain function and prevent exacerbation. Pharmacologic treatment usually includes analgesics. Management of back pain can also involve musculoskeletal rearrangement through manipulations by various health care providers including physiotherapists, manual therapists, chiropractors, and exercise therapists. Massage, ultrasounds, electrotherapy, laser, intradiscal injections, and traction therapies are also used in the treatment of back pain. Surgical treatments are generally a last resort after all non-invasive treatments have been exhausted. Mechanical prostheses, which are currently implanted, have medium outcome success and relatively high re-operation rates.