Back pain is the world's leading cause of disability

Written by Community Health Network on 3/31/2014 1:00:00 PM

According to new research in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, lower back pain causes more global disability than any other medical condition.

Researchers analyzed information from 117 studies on back pain and 780 estimates of back pain burden from more than 80 countries. They concluded that one in 10 individuals worldwide suffers from back pain.

The researchers assessed the damage inflicted by lower back pain in terms of disability adjusted life years (DALYs), which combines the number of years of life lost from early death and the number of years spent living in pain. They found that lower back pain ranked the highest in terms of years lost from disability and sixth in terms of DALYs.

But our experts say that the most effective treatment is often free. Exercise can dramatically reduce back pain.

"A sedentary lifestyle is certainly a big contributor to back pain related disability," Dr. Jason Sorg, physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Community Physician Network. "Exercise has shown to be helpful related to managing back pain and even preventative in some instances."

"For example, people who exercise regularly do tend to have less back pain," said Sorg. "On the other hand, people who do not exercise become stiff and out of shape which can lend itself to a greater chance of back pain and injury."

Simple cardio exercises can prevent and treat back pain.

"One way to treat back pain is to do cardio fitness," said Dr. Brian Foley, medical director at Community Spine Center. "These exercises increase blood flow and oxygen to your muscles to reduce pain levels. Another way to combat pain is to perform specific exercises for your spine and core. Muscular strength decreases stress on your back."


If you suffer from back pain and would like information about treatment, contact the Community Spine Center at 317-497-2100.

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