How Do Americans View Back Pain and Its Treatment?

Back and neck pain. If you’ve never experienced it, you simply have no real idea of what an estimated 80% of your fellow adults go through, or how debilitating it can be. Once you have experienced it, you’ll never forget it and take on a whole new level of empathy with your fellow sufferers.

But beyond making sympathetic noises, what do you do about it? And do you have any idea what others are doing?

A new survey conducted by OnePoll asked those specific questions, and the answers they found were eye opening.

The first thing that the study found confirmed what others have said – not only do most Americans experience back or neck pain, but one out of four have had it for more than five years. Sixteen percent say that they have suffered for more than a decade, and seven in ten say that their pain has had an impact on their ability to live their lives normally and pursue normal activities.

As for those activities, more than half of those who are regularly experiencing pain have said that their work environments make their symptoms worse, with one in four saying that their office chairs were sending their backs into spasm.

The outcome of this discomfort has been a negative impact on their ability to do their job well, as well as to enjoy their fitness activities. Back pain has had a negative effect on quality of life for forty-five percent of those surveyed.

With that many people in pain, the natural next questions asked revolved around what had caused the pain and what they are doing about it. More than half blamed heavy lifting as contributing to their discomfort, while sitting too long, bending over and sleeping on poor mattresses also ranked high on the list of both causes and continuing factors.

When people were asked to describe things that caused them pain or re-aggravated existing back discomfort they listed such everyday tasks as doing the laundry, carrying groceries to and from the car, going up or down the stairs, and even driving, and one in four say that the pain caused from this daily tasks lasting an average of a week or more.

What are people doing about all this pain? At our New Jersey spine specialty practice, we have a robust diagnostic and treatment protocol that starts with speaking to our patients to determine the source of their pain, running diagnostic tests and then generally pursuing a conservative approach of physical therapy and exercise. But patients who are experiencing this pain on their own, without the help of a physician, have taken a variety of approaches.

Three out of five simply take some kind of over-the-counter pain reliever and hope for the best, and if that doesn’t work almost half then turn to their physician for a prescription for their pain. Others turn to alternative approaches that they refer to as “natural” – these can include massage, herbal medicine, yoga and inversion therapy, all of which they have identified as potential cures from searching the internet rather than by going to their doctor.

Whether you have tried an alternative approach or not, if you are struggling with neck or back pain – we can help. Contact our New Jersey spine specialty practice today to set up an appointment and put yourself on the road to relief.

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