Low back pain – Epidemiology

We would like to share a number of papers that give a helpful overview of the epidemiology of low back pain. Here are the main takeaways:

  • 28% of people experience debilitating low back pain at some time in their lives (Manchikanti, 2000).
  • 14% experience episodes lasting at least 2 weeks (Manchikanti, 2000).
  • 8% of the entire working population will experience debilitating low back pain in any given year (Manchikanti, 2000).
  • 65% to 80% of the population will at some point in their life experience low back pain (Manchikanti, 2000).
  • 80% to 90% of instances of low back pain are resolved in about 6 weeks, regardless of treatment (Manchikanti, 2000).
  • Most people who experience activity-limiting low back pain typically have recurrent episodes (Hoy, D., et al. 2010).
  • The incidence of low back pain is highest in the 30-39 age group, and overall prevalence increases with age up until the 60-65 age group, before gradually declining (Hoy, D., et al. 2010).
  • Ages 24-39 - prevalence of 4.2% (Meucci, R. D. et al. 2015).
  • Ages 20-59 - prevalence of 19.6% (Meucci, R. D. et al. 2015).
  • Risk factors: low educational status, stress, anxiety, depression, job dissatisfaction, low levels of social support in the workplace and whole-body vibration (Hoy, D., et al. 2010).

1- Hoy, D., Brooks, P., Blyth, F. &, Buchbinder, R. (2010). The Epidemiology of low back pain. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology, 769-781; 2- Manchikanti, L. (2000). Epidemiology of low back pain. Pain Physician, 167-192.; 3 - Meucci, R. D., Fassa, A. G., & Faria, N, M, X. (2015). Prevalence of chronic low back pain: systematic review. Revista de Saúde Pública, vol. 49.