A growing problem of lower back pain increasingly in America’s sedentary workers
Lower back pain is on rise in U.S., a fact that may remind readers of a recent report by ABC News that Americans worker works longer days, “take less vacation, work longer days, and retire later” than their counterparts in other industrialized countries. With an increasing number of job, sitting at a desk or workstation for hours, chiropractors and health practitioners are seeing a startling rise in cases of back pain among all age groups.
According to American Chiropractic Association, pain in the lower back is a 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 the cause of lower back pain epidemic in America. “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.”
A recent post by a chiropractic group based in the tech hotbed of San Francisco suggests that the modern office environment is the cause for increased musculoskeletal pain among office workers. “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.”
Tips to Combat Lower Pack Pain
As back pain is such a prevalent issue for Americans, there is growing interest in solutions to the epidemic, ranging from exercise to lifestyle to ergonomics.
A recent article on Medical Daily emphasized on yoga in workplace, featuring five yoga beneficial yoga poses that can be done without even leaving one’s desk. Numerous recent studies have also proven that regular breaks from prolonged periods of sitting are very effective at combating lower back pain.
In many cases, sitting down is unavoidable, in which case ergonomics can be highly effective in preventing or helping alleviate lower back pain. A recent post on Spine-health details six distinct elements of how a chair should be situated at one’s desk in order to reduce pressure on the spine, including elbow angle, pressure on the thighs, distance from the chair front to the calf, lower back support, resting eye level, and arm rest position.
Despite that, reducing lower back pain in the United States is not just a health issue, it is a financial issue as well. A 2014 post on Money Crashers stated that annual cost of back pain in the United States, due to lost work days and decreased worker productivity, is anywhere from $50b to a staggering $200b depending on whose data one chooses to rely on.