How Much Does Back Pain Cost Us?
At least 80% of the population is affected by an episode of lower back pain at one point in their life; with close to 20-30% of the population suffer at the same time. What caused the back pain in the first place needs to be looked at and corrected, or else it will usually come back to affect the individual again after it has healed, with subsequent lower back pain increasing in severity and costing more. The majority of people who suffer from lower back pain either lead a very sedentary lifestyle with little or no exercise or have jobs in the workforce that require them to perform manual labor. Lower back pain can become problematic at any stage of life but is seen most often between the ages of 30 and 60.
The costs that we can associate with episodes of lower back pain is quite staggering. The loss of productivity and income the individual suffers, along with expense of medical, rehabilitation, surgical intervention, and limited daily functions can be extremely depressing for the sufferer. In the workplace, lower back pain comes in second only to upper respiratory conditions as stated cause for loss of work.
In a recent study involving 655 volunteers, medical expenses for 90 days before an episode of lower back pain and 90 days after were examined. The study found that the average cost of medical care for the three months before the onset of lower back pain totaled on average $163. The medical cost for treatment in the 90 days following an episode is considerably more; on average $482.
The study found that lower back pain is associated with increased expenditures for other health conditions. In previous studies that took only the cost of lower back pain treatment into account, the conditions that resulted due to the lower back pain were not considered. As an example, many patients that suffer from extended episodes of lower back pain require treatment for depression related to it.
The study also found that there was a significant increase in psychiatric comorbities including medication for depression following an episode of lower back pain.
Who is at Risk of Back Injury?
Honestly everyone is at risk of injuring their back, but the people in the highest risk category may come as quite a surprise. The group of people that have the highest chance of developing a serious debilitating back injury range between the age of 35 – 45 and care for young children or the elderly.
This is because a caregiver has to repeatedly lift a child or help to move an elderly patient. The frequent strain put on the lower back places these individuals at greater risk than many of the manual laborers that most would imagine have the highest incidents of lower back pain.