Back pain is one of the commonest medical problems, and studies show that 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is the reason why people visit doctors offices most often, second only to upper body respiratory infections. It’s also one of the commonest reasons why people miss work, and suffer disabilities. The causes of back pain are complex and chronic back pain and chronic spine issues can be difficult to treat. Fortunately for sufferers, spine specialists can find innovative and effective and minimally invasive surgical and non-surgical treatment for back pains. These options include artificial disc replacement, stem cells, platelet rich plasma (PRP), specialized blood proteins, and more.
Back pain is a common problem
As many as 31 million Americans suffer from lower back pain and half of all working Americans have experienced back pain symptoms each year. The pain can be chronic and difficult to treat, leading sufferers to miss work on a regular basis. The inability to work can also adversely affect their ability to hold a job, and to maintain their health insurance.
The Institute of Medicine reports that as a significant public health problem, pain costs society $560 to $635 billion each year. This figure combines the cost of medical treatments for pain as well as the economic costs of disability days and loss of wages and productivity. It works out to about $2,000 per head for everyone living in the U.S.
Worldwide, recent market research shows that at least 1.5 billion people suffer from chronic pain. About 3 to 4.5% of the world’s population suffers from neuropathic pain, the incidence of which increases age. Back pain is the commonest type of pain, followed by migraine or severe headaches, neck pain and facial pain, in that order.
Health consequences of back pain
Back pain leads to disability, psychological distress and overall poorer physical and mental health. It is in fact the leading cause of disability among Americans below the age of 45 years. People with lower back pain offer suffer worse physical and mental health than those without. More than one-fourth or 28% of adults suffering from lower back pain are forced to limit their activity, compared to 10% of adults without lower back pain.
Adults with lower back pain are more than four times more likely to undergo serious psychological distress. The social and personal costs of back pain and spine problems are enormous. Spine specialists use different types of treatment that can allow sufferers to experience alleviation of the symptoms.
Treatments for back pain
Chronic back pain can be difficult to treat but spine specialists and neurosurgeons have developed a number of techniques for treatment and alleviation of back pain and spine conditions. These could be surgical or nonsurgical and are minimally invasive. Stem cell treatment, artificial lumbar disc surgery and kyphoplasty are some of the treatment options developed by spine specialists. Physical therapy can also play a major role in the reduction of back pain.
Neck and back care are of great importance to individual sufferers and to the overall public health environment. Spine specialists thus play a critical role in helping a big segment of the population to live and work in comfort.