The prevalence of low back pain (LBP) is REALLY high!
In fact, it’s the second most common cause of disability among adults in the United States (US) and a very common reason for lost days at work.
The total cost of back pain in the US, including treatment and lost productivity, ranges between $100 billion to $200 billion a year!
So, is low back pain on the rise, staying the same, or lessening?
Let’s take a look...
In the past two decades, the use of health care services for chronic LBP (that means LBP > 3 months) has substantially increased. When reviewing studies reporting insurance claims information, researchers note a significant increase in the use of spinal injections, surgery, and narcotic prescriptions.
There has also been an increase in physical therapy services, increased use of spinal manipulation by chiropractors and primary care physician driven non-narcotic prescriptions.
In general, LBP sufferers who are chronic (vs. acute) are the group using most of these services and incurring the majority of costs.
The reported utilization of the above mentioned services was only 3.9% in 1992 compared to 10.2% in 2006, just 11 years later.
The question now becomes, why is this?
Possible reasons for this increase health care use in chronic LBP sufferers may be:
1) There are simply more people suffering from chronic LBP
2) More chronic LBP patients are deciding to seek care or treatment where previously they “just accepted and lived with it” and didn’t pursue treatment; or
3) A combination of these factors. Regardless of which of the above three is most accurate, the most important issue is...
What can we do to help chronic back pain sufferers?
As we’ve discussed in the past, an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise within YOUR personal tolerance level, not smoking, getting enough sleep and moving within the proper parameters are well documented methods of “controlling” chronic LBP.
However, this is typically not enough for most people to get rid of back pain for good.
Many times, further intervention by a Low Back Pain Specialist who uses conservative methods and can come up with a long term solution for your back pain is necessary...
The sad truth is that only 7% of people like you who go see their primary care provider get referred out to physical therapy.
The other 93% are typically sent home with a prescription for pain medications, and sheet of random exercises and stretches to perform at home (if you're lucky).
Many people are also just told that it is just part of "aging" and that they will just have to live with it.
This is just not true.
The truth is:
You don't have to live with back pain for the rest of your life.
So, now the question is..
WHEN will insurance companies and general practitioners start RECOMMENDING Physical Therapy for maintenance care for chronic LBP patients?
Luckily for you, your family and friends... in the state of Florida you can now see your physical therapist of choice for at least 30 days without a script from a general practitioner***
(***dependent on your insurance, and we can verify this for you***)
We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services. :-)
Dr. Javier A. Carlin, PT, DPT, CSCS, FMT - Low Back Pain Specialist
Clinic Director & Physical Therapist
Renewal Rehab Largo
P.S. If you’re experiencing stiffness in your back which restricts your ability to move without pain, click here to download my free back pain report which includes actionable tips we give to our patients at the Renewal Rehab. Click here to get your free copy: