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Low Back Pain – Top Cause of Disability Worldwide

Low Back PainMost people experience low back pain at some point in their lives. According to new research, low back pain causes more disability than nearly 300 other conditions worldwide. The research findings, published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, say that about one in 10 people across the globe suffer from this chronic disease. The study was based on an analysis of information from 117 studies in 47 different countries and other supplemental surveys.

A second study by the researchers looked at the prevalence of this condition in specific types of jobs and found that low back ache was linked to about a third of work-related disabilities. This study analyzed data from 187 countries from 1990 and 2010. For most people, the exact cause of is unclear, but there are certain factors that put people at risk of the condition, says one of the experts. Obesity, old age, stress, depression and anxiety were identified as major risk factors. It was found that people who did work that required heavy lifting or were in stressful jobs also had a higher risk of developing low back pain.

Making comparisons with about 291 other health conditions, the researchers found that low back ache causes more disability than other conditions including infections, depression and cardiac disease. It affected 9.4 percent of those surveyed in 2010. Moreover, men were more affected than women – with an average of over 10 % of men compared to with 8.7% of women. Geographically, the condition was more common in Western Europe and the lowest in the Caribbean and Latin America.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS) reports that Americans spend at least $50 billion annually on costs related low back pain. Experts opine that though pain medications, heat or ice treatment or surgery are the standard treatment options, exercise is the most effective treatment modality. Physical therapy exercises helps to strengthen abdominal muscles and back bone, thereby improving joint functioning and range of motion. In reliable healthcare centers, trained physical therapists work with other experts to develop customized treatment plans that include pain management options and gentle strengthening, stretching, aerobic and isometric exercises to help patients recover and get back to normal activities quickly.

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