The Statistics on Back Pain

Today, there are over 10 different types of health care practitioners dedicated to helping people suffering from back pain. The diagnostic studies used to determine the cause of a person's back pain and the type of treatments used will depend on the expert's training and observations made in their clinic or office. 4 out of every five people experience some level of back pain in their lifetime. Though the majority of people experiencing back pain do get better on their own, some cases do progress into the chronic stage. By the time a patient has experienced back pain long enough for it to be considered chronic, they will probably have seen at least one problem to help treat their problem. Let's look at some statistics on back pain:
  • Eighty-five million Americans are estimated currently to suffer from back pain.
  • Some 20 million Americans visit their doctors each year because of back pain. That figure doesn't include the number of visits to chiropractors, massage therapists, physiotherapists, etc.
  • The number of workdays that are lost every year in the United States because of back pain has been estimated at 105 million. Backaches are second only to respiratory infections of absenteeism from work.
  • On a single day, the number of Americans in bed due to back pain has been estimated at 7 million.
  • The annual bill for back pain (not including lost productivity, lowered morale, costs for retaining, lost skills, and absenteeism) has been set at $20 billion by the U.S. federal government but to many professionals this number seems low.


Clearly, the costs associated with back pain are high, both in decreased work productivity and emotionally. People who experience severe back pain often suffer alone, often thinking that their doctor and family do not understand what they are going through. Some patients suffering back pain are given a clean bill of health by their doctor after thorough examinations, blood tests, and X-Rays. They are told that their back is structurally sound, and that this is a problem that they will just have to deal with the best that they can. In many other cases, X-Rays and more powerful MRIs may detect degenerative changes in their spine, but they are told that the risks of surgical interventions are too high.

Most patients who have experienced back pain long enough might have gone to more than one back pain therapist and have tried several treatment options hoping that one of them works. Some patients may even get better after trying two or more treatments for back pain simultaneously, and gotten better. Patients who have gotten better after trying more than one type of treatment might not know if just one of the treatments alone would have been better at treating their problem. As the facts and statistics continue to come in, we will try to report on the statistics from the latest research in back care and try to make sense out of all the data out there. The objective of this website is to tell you what causes back pain, the various treatments available for each type, and how patients fare statically for each type of procedure.