Low Back Pain: The $1 Billion Issue

Have you ever experienced low back pain that prevents you from bending down? A pain that that stops your mobility from being anything but mobile, causing you to sit in an awkward position? You’re not alone as low back pain has become a new fad of injuries that 31 million Americans experience on a daily basis and spend a staggering $50 billion each year. Back pain is on the list of common ailments we face, falling second to headaches which can be very taxing on the body as well. There are two types of lower back pain; chronic and acute. Chronic back pain is measured on a scale of how often that pain continues for 3 months. Acute is not as often and can last between 3 days to a month. This short term pain ranges from aches, shooting pains, to limited range of motion that is normally caused by a short jolt, sports injury and sitting in an awkward position. However, this laundry list of problems does come with instructions as to how lower back pain can be monitored, giving us a better understanding on our bodies.

In order to help the issue, we need to first exam the structure of the back and why many Americans are cursed with this problem. The back is the foundation of our body, supporting the neck to the pelvis, holding our upper body’s weight and protecting the spinal cord. The spinal cord connects from the head-down and has nerves on each space of the vertebrae that send signals from the brain to the body that help control the body’s movements. The spaces in between the vertebrae are supported by cartilage that act as a spongy pad and a “shock absorber” to cushion the bones. This allows flexibility in our body and helps the L1-L5 vertebrae (lower back). With such support our body, it is hard to believe many would have such issues with their lower back.

Lower back pain can be treated with a number of helpful, surgery avoiding methods (depending on the severity), to ensure the best quality of life. Some simple methods include exercise, medication, acupuncture, and spinal manipulation. Exercise has proven to be the most effective method as strengthening the abdominal muscles and lower back will improve the foundation. Some healthy back routines must be practiced as they are very low-impact exercises that will not put a lot of stress on the lower back and can still keep you active (swimming, walking, stretching etc.).

It is difficult to say if lower back pain can be prevented fully as we always find ourselves doing some sort of heavy lifting and jolting our bodies. Simple tips for a healthier back:

  • Maintain proper nutrition-gaining an excess in weight can cause stress on the body, specifically the lower back as it supports the entire body.
  • Change sleeping habits- sleep on your side to prevent curvature of the spine.
  • Posture- do not slouch at a desk or on the couch as constant tension on the lower back could be another issue.

Lower back pain ranges to all ages and different trades. Athletes, construction workers, teachers, businessman all experience some sort of lower back pain that are not normally caught early on. By using these simple tools to prevent lower back pain, one must be disciplined and willing to change these developed habits. Lower back pain doesn’t need to be the $1 billion issue anymore as our money can be used to something more useful.


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