A Matter of Fact
Documented Medical Facts About Back and Neck Pain:
Number of U. S. Adults Reporting a Disability is
85% of the US population suffers from back or neck
pain at some point in their lives.
31 million Americans experience low-back pain at
any given time.
One-half of all working Americans admit to having
back pain symptoms each year.
Back pain is the leading cause of disability in
Americans under 45 years old.
Back pain is the third leading cause of disability in
people over 45 years of age.
More than 26 million Americans between the ages of
20-64 experience frequent back pain.
Back pain is the second most common reason for
seeing a doctor in the US, following coughs and
other respiratory infections.
Back pain is the third most common reason for
Failed back surgery syndrome is seen in 10-40% of
patients who undergo back surgery. It is characterized
by intractable pain and varying degrees of functional
incapacitation occurring after spine surgery. More risks include infection,
nerve damage, deterioration of health and post operative complications
Americans spend at least $50 billion* each year on back pain-and that's just for
the more easily identified costs.
Fewer than 5% of people with back pain are good candidates for surgery
According to a recent article in the USA TODAY, The U.S. health care system
spends about as much each year on spine problems as it does on cancer.
Their source: Journal of the American Medical Association.
Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not
caused by such conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or
1. Orthopedic Clinics of North America, Volume 35, Issue I, Pages 1-5 S. Pai, L. Sundaram
2. Jensen M, Brant-Zawadzki M, Obuchowski N, et al. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People Without Back Pain. N Engl J Med 1994; 331: 69-116.
3. Vallfors B. Acute, Subacute and Chronic Low Back Pain: Clinical Symptoms, Absenteeism and Working Environment. Scan J Rehab Med Suppl 1985; 11: 1-98.
4. Bigos S, et al. Acute Low Back Problems in Adults, Clinical Practice Guideline No. 14. Rockville, MD: U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, AHCPR Pub. No. 95-0642, Dec. 1994.Eyerman, Edward MD. Journal of Neuroimaging. June 1998
5. In Project Briefs: Back Pain Patient Outcomes Assessment Team (BOAT). In MEDTEP Update, Vol. 1 Issue 1, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville, MD, Summer 1994.
6. John P. Kostuik, MD, and Simeon Margolis, MD, Ph.D. Low Back Pain and Osteoporosis. The John Hopkins White Paper on Low Back Pain and Osteoporosis, 2002.
7. See article, http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-02-12-back-pain_N.htm
*This total represents only the more readily identifiable costs for medical care, workers compensation payments and time lost from work. It does not include costs associated with lost personal income due to acquired physical limitation resulting from a back problem and lost employer productivity due to employee medical absence. In Project Briefs: Back Pain Patient Outcomes Assessment Team (BOAT). In MEDTEP Update, Vol. 1 Issue 1, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville, MD, Summer 1994.