Lower back pain (LBP) is a pervasive health problem in our society. It is the most expensive, benign medical condition in industrialized countries.(1) Nearly all people suffer some moderate to severe lower back or spinal pain at some point in their lives. It is the second most common neurological complaint in the United States, second only to headache.
About 65 million Americans have had a recent episode of back or spine related pain, and 8% of all adults are so bothered by low back problems that they limit their daily activities in some way. Americans spend $50 billion each year on physical exams, tests and procedures, physical therapy, imaging, non-surgical, and surgical treatment related to low back pain. In fact low back pain is second only to the common cold as the reason why people miss work.
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Chronic lower back pain, defined as pain lasting more than three months, is the most common cause of job-related disability in Americans younger than 45 years of age,(2,3) the second most frequent reason to visit a physician for a chronic condition,(4,5,6,7) the fifth most common cause of hospitalization,(3,7,8,9) and the third most frequent reason for spine surgery.(4,8,9) A lumbar herniated disc is one of the most common causes of chronic lower back and leg pain symptoms.