How common is back pain?


If you've ever experienced back pain—which can consist of anything from a twinge in the neck to aches or pains anywhere along the spine, on down to the hips, butt and legs—you're in good company. It's the second most common neurological health complaint, right behind headaches. Nearly everyone experiences some degree of back pain at one point or another, and it's one of the top causes of disability and missed work.

Dr. Arya Nick Shamie, MD

It's been estimated that 90-plus percent of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point in their lifetime. Most often, the pain goes away by itself, but in some cases, people with back pain can have chronic pain where the pain continues. Some of these people have disc herniations, but 20 percent of people with back pain will be suffering from sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

Dr. Maoshing Ni, PhD, LAc
Geriatric Medicine Specialist

When it comes to back pain, your lower back is an especially vulnerable area as it's prone to injury, particularly as we age. The wear and tear of living eventually weakens the skeletal structure, causing bone loss and disintegrated or displaced discs. And you’re not alone: 8 out of 10 Americans experience back pain at some time, making it the fifth most common reason to visit the doctor.

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Back pain is very common. The majority of people experience back pain at some point in their life. Back pain is also the second most common reason for visiting a doctor.

Unfortunately, back pain is very common. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of the population will suffer from spinal pain at some point in their lives. People who are overweight or obese, and who smoke, lift heavy objects or have had a previous episode of back pain, are more likely to experience back pain.

Today, back pain is also increasingly common among children and adolescents. This is likely due to a number of factors, such as heavy backpacks, reduced physical activity, too much time spent at the computer or watching TV and the growing incidence of obesity in the young. 

Dr. Gerald M. Silverman
Chiropractic Medicine Specialist

An estimated 80 percent of the population will suffer at least one episode of acute back pain at some point in life. At any given time, 20 percent of the population and half of working age adults suffer lower back pain. Neck and back pain are the second leading cause of medical office visits and the leading cause of lost work time in the United States. At these levels, it runs in just about everyone's family. Neck and back pain are epidemic in our society, and nothing is being done to change that. If you are over 40, it is unlikely for you not to have experienced—or know someone who has experienced—significant lower back or neck pain.

Your Miraculous Back: A Step-By-Step Guide to Relieving Neck & Back Pain

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Your Miraculous Back: A Step-By-Step Guide to Relieving Neck & Back Pain

Many of us complain about our 'bad back,' but this book argues that our backs are, without exception, amazing examples of bioengineering, capable of dramatic feats of strength, flexibility, and...

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Back Pain

Back Pain

Just about everyone has experienced some level of back pain. It is one of the most common ailments brought on by disease, injury, or misalignment of the spine. It can be a dull muscle ache in the lower back or a severe, sharp pain ...

in that affects your ability to bend over or stand up straight. Most often back pain results from strained muscles and ligaments that surround the spine, but it can also be caused by structural problems with the bones of the spine. There are treatment options for back pain, and understanding the causes and symptoms is key to preventing it in the first place.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.