Back pain affects eight out of 10 Americans at some point in their lives, and it is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for people under the age of 45. Americans spend $50 billion a year in search of relief for their back pain, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
To respond to the high prevalence and burden of back pain, the American Pain Foundation (APF) today announced the launch of a new online guide as part of its Spotlight on Back Pain, which contains information and resources to educate people about back pain and provides tips for prevention, pain management and self-advocacy.
"Back pain will affect most of us at some point in our lives and it can be extremely debilitating," said Will Rowe, chief executive officer of APF. "While most back pain typically resolves on its own or with conservative therapy, for those who experience persistent or chronic back pain, it can negatively impact every aspect of life including a person's physical and mental health, ability to sleep and perform everyday tasks, social and intimate relations, work productivity and financial well being if untreated. The Spotlight on Back Pain guide was developed to provide useful, easy-to-read information for people seeking tips on ways to better manage back pain and prevent it from progressing."
According to the National Center of Health Statistics, approximately 8 to 10 percent or 26 million Americans with acute back pain will develop chronic back pain.
Many jobs place stress and strain on the back, making people with certain careers more prone for developing back pain including those working in nursing, construction and even those with desk jobs who remain seated for long periods of time or are hunched over a computer all day. After the common cold, back pain is the leading reason adults under 45 years of age stay home from work. It is estimated that as many as 83 million days of work are missed each year due to back pain.(1)
"When an office accident 15 years ago left me with severe back pain, I assumed that my doctor would tell me what to do to get better. Instead, I was forced to muddle through a patchwork of specialists and treatments in search of pain relief," said Cindy Steinberg from Lexington, Mass., who sustained a serious back injury when a cubicle wall and filing cabinet fell on top of her. "When it comes to pain, knowledge is empowering. If I had had the information and resources contained in this online guide available to me back then, it's likely I would have learned to manage my pain much sooner. There's even the possibility that the acute pain that I experienced from my injury may not have developed into the chronic pain that I now live with every day."
The Spotlight on Back Pain guide contains articles, worksheets and tips about preventing and managing back pain, including:
Oh, My Aching Back! The ABCs of Chronic Back Pain
Common Causes and Knowing When to Seek Care to Avoid Problems
Who's Who in Treating Back Pain
Finding Relief: 10 Ways to Manage Back Pain
Lifestyle Tips: Preventing Back Pain from the Start
Back Pain & the Workplace
Back Truths: Debunking Common Myths about Back Pain
In Your Words: Profiles of People Living with Back Pain
The guide also contains Terms You Need to Know, Questions to Ask Your Health Care Provider, a list of helpful resources and checklists, and handouts that explain exercises that help strengthen the back and self-care at home.
To view APF's Spotlight on Back Pain guide, visit www.spotlightonbackpain.org. This project was made possible by support from Purdue Pharma LP.
Founded in 1997, the American Pain Foundation (APF) is an independent nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization serving people with pain through information, advocacy and support. The mission of APF is to improve the quality of life of people by raising public awareness, providing practical information, promoting research and advocating to remove barriers and increase access to effective pain management. For more information, visit www.painfoundation.org.
NOTES: (1) B. Druss, Marcus, S., Olfson, M., and Pincus, H.A. (2002). "The Most Expensive Medical Conditions in America." Health Affairs, 21(4): 105-111.