How do we Experience Back Pain?

Lower back pain is impacting most americans

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) You've probably felt it. An aching pain in your lower back. When you have lower back pain, do you seek help, or wait for it to go away?

According to a survey from the American Physical Therapy Association, 61 percent of American experience lower back pain.

But more than a third of those who have pain do not seek help, even though most report pain has an effect on their life.

"If you have chronic, long-lasting pain, see a doctor."

The American Physical Therapy Association conducted an online survey and received over 2,600 responses. The report was called, “Move Forward Lower Back Pain Survey.”

Lower back pain is a nebulous and common problem. Often, the cause of chronic pain can be traced back to a specific cause such as lumbar spinal stenosis, or degenerative disk disease.

But typically, lower back pain comes from something more difficult to diagnose, like overuse, strain, or stress.

The survey questions were aimed at uncovering the frequency of lower back pain, how pain affects activity, and which physical positions may be associated with lower back pain, as well as how people get treatment.

Among the major findings:

  • Women were more likely than men to report experiencing lower back pain.
  • Those who are unemployed are more likely to report lower back pain than those who are employed part-time or full-time.
  • Only 11 percent of Americans have never experienced lower back pain, and those who are single/ never married are more likely to not have had back pain.
  • Sixty-nine percent of adults say that lower back pain has affected their activities, such as the tasks of daily living, exercise, sleep, and work.
  • Fifty-four percent of U.S. adults who had lower back pain some of the time spent most of their day sitting.
  • The other 46 percent of American adults who had lower back pain some of the time are on their feet for most of the day.

The majority of Americans who are affected by lower back pain do seek treatment. Most go see their primary care physician, and others seek help from chiropractors, physical therapists, or even massage therapists.

According to the APTA, the easiest way to manage back pain is to keep moving. Bed rest for over a day can actually slow down recovery from an injury.

It's also important to try to avoid back pain by staying active, and having proper ergonomics while sitting at your desk, if that's what you do all day. Keep your body relaxed and position your computer screen at eye level. A quick exercise or two can help stave off back pain.

The APTA published the results of its survey in April 2012.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 5, 2012
Last Updated:
April 6, 2012