Back Pain Facts and Stats

This is an overview of some of the facts and stats that you may not know about back pain. The facts and stats are not intended as a personal view point, just to provide some information, so that if you are suffering, you can rest assured that you are not alone. Most are taken from

The facts

Back pain is common. In a study in 2000 it was reported that almost half the population had back pain, lasting at least 24hours, during the course of the year

It is estimated that 80% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

As age increases the number of people suffering as a percentage increases too. Peaking at the ages of 35-55 years.

In 85% of cases there is no clear pathology behind the back pain.

The risk factors most likely to contribute to back pain are; age, weight, sedentary lifestyles, repetitive lifting, bending, reaching, straining, pulling, vibrations, stress, anxiety, depression and smoking.

90% of people with acute back pain will recover in 6 weeks, but 8% will go on to develop chronic back pain conditions.

The NHS spends around £1 billion on back pain costs a year. Privately we spend over £550 million on it per year.

It is estimated that employers loose £590 million a year due to back pain related illness. The UK is not alone in this and it is the 2nd most common reason for work absence. In any one day 1% of the population will be off due to back pain.

Back pain, in particular when persistant, can have a significant impact on people’s lives. It frequently reduces their quality of life and adversely affects their family and social relationships.

40% of people who suffer will see their GP about it and 10% will see an osteopath, physio or chiropractor.

Keeping active as soon as it is possible is key.

Around 35,000 people will see an osteopath every day. Of these, 54% of all new patients are seen within a day of their initial phone contact and nearly all are seen within a week.

Public surveys indicate that 85% of people felt that osteopathy should be in on the NHS. In most areas it is only available privately at varying costs. Private medical cover will generally cover osteopathic appointments.

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