Lower back pain is on the rise in the U.S., a fact that may remind readers of a recent report by ABC News that American workers work longer days, "take less vacation, work longer days, and retire later" than their counterparts in other industrialized countries. With an increasing number of jobs involving sitting at a desk or workstation for hours at a time, chiropractors and health practitioners are seeing a startling rise in cases of back pain among all age groups.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, pain in the lower back is leading cause of disability around the world, and an estimated "31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time." Back pain is also reported to be the second leading cause of doctor visits every year, trailing only upper-respiratory infections.
Factors Contributing To Higher Prevalence Of Low Back Pain
A number of factors are thought to be causing the lower back pain epidemic in America. A recent study by researchers at Northwestern University and reported on by Medical News Today suggests that smoking increases certain types of brain activity that make individuals less resilient to lower back pain.
"The researchers found that compared with nonsmoking participants, those who smoked had a stronger connection between the nucleus accumbens and the medial prefrontal cortex, increasing their risk of chronic back pain. The team calculated that smokers are three times more likely to develop chronic back pain than nonsmokers."
"...the average age of our new patients is a bit startling. Young office workers still in their 20s arrive at our office complaining of back pain, pinched nerves, neck pain, headaches, and a variety of other conditions caused by strain on the musculoskeletal system."