WTF Fun Fact 13049 – Missing Work for Back Pain

It’s very likely that you’ve experienced back pain (especially lower back pain) at some point in your life. And if a backache or spasm has make you call in sick, you might be interested to know that missing work for back pain is common. In fact, it’s the most common cause of missed work days.

Missing work for back pain is common

Not only is back pain the leading cause of missed work days, but according to Georgetown’s Health Policy Institute (cited below), 64% of workers with low back pain have missed at least one day of work in the past year due to some type of illness or injury. On the other hand, only 45% of those who do not suffer from back pain missed work for illness or injury.

The Health Policy Institute also reports that:
“Roughly 83 million days of work are lost per year due to back pain.
Back pain is a leading cause of work-loss days as well as work limitations.
Between 1998 and 2000 the number of back pain injuries that have involved time away from work has increased.

The number of days of work that people with back pain miss is also higher than those without back pain.

Finally, “adults with back pain spend almost 200 million days in bed a year.”

The commonness of back pain

If you’ve ever suffered from back pain, it’s hard to believe that some adults haven’t experienced it. After all, it can be caused by sports injuries just as much as it can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle. 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain in their life.

Back pain happens to all age and ethnic groups, however it it slightly more common in people aged 18 to 44 and in those whose annual income is less than $20,000. This may be because of the types of jobs people in these groups have, or their inability to seek proper help for back pain. Without some sort of intervention, pain can become chronic and even more debilitating.

Around 25% of people with low back pain are in fair to poor physical or mental health, so it’s associated with other issues as well.

Getting help for back pain is key

Over 4 million adults in the US said they have had trouble staying employed due to back pain and earnings among back pain sufferers are lower than among those without it. All of these statistics indicate that getting help for back pain is crucial to long-term wellbeing.

Since everyone’s pain is different, there’s no one common cure. Pain relievers, physical therapy, and targeted exercise are all options. The need for surgery is rare. And the good news is that a lot of back pain can be resolved by lifestyle modifications, which are free.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Chronic Back Pain” — Georgetown Health Policy Institute

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