Back Pain – It’s More Common Than You Think

A lot of people complain about back pain, especially those who work physically demanding jobs. But the number of people who suffer from this issue still might come as a surprise. 

A Heavy Toll 

40 million – according to a recent report, that’s the number of American workers who must contend with lower back pain severe enough to impede their work performance. Published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, this report surveyed a very sizable number of workers; in total, roughly 19,000 adults participated in this study. 

What they found made for some alarming news. More than a quarter (26%) of respondents claimed to have experienced pain in their lower backs. If applied to the American populace as a whole, this would equate to roughly 40 million people in the current US workforce. As one would expect, the fields that saw the highest number of lower back woes – construction, building maintenance and grounds cleaning – involved taxing physical labor.

Communication Breakdown 

The study authors contend that the scope of this problem might be even worse than their numbers suggest. Lead author Dr. Sara Luckhaupt noted that “a lot of the cases of back pain have been attributed to work, but most workers haven’t even discussed with their doctor whether it might be related to work.” 

The age demographic most likely to report lower back pain were those between the ages of 45 to 64. Both men and women in this group were found to be dealing with significant pain in this part of the body. It should be noted that obesity can further aggravate pre-existing work-related lower back pain.  
In response to the report’s findings, Luckhaupt contends that employees should work together with their employers to lessen the burden on their bodies. “[…] Workers with back pain should talk with their employers to see if there are things that they can do to make the work healthier.”

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