Researchers Say that Lower Back Pain is a Global Epidemic

A newly released research paper out of the United Kingdom is indicating that lower back pain impacts approximately 540 million people globally, and is the leading cause of disability in the world. Scientists from the University of Warwick reviewed international data and concluded that despite the existence of highly effective treatment options, far too many people are still being misled about their conditions, subjected to expensive and questionable testing, and not receiving the treatment that would solve their problems.

At our lumbar spine surgery practice in New Jersey, we frequently see patients who have been searching for years for a remedy, so we are familiar with many of the issues described in The Lancet. The authors largely researched the impact of lower back pain in the United Kingdom, where they found a 12% increase in its incidence over a 20-year period. Not only did they find that the condition represents a tremendous expense each year, but also results in an increase in lost work and wages.

One of the most notable conclusions drawn by the researchers is that much of the expense is coming from needless tests and ineffective, inappropriate treatments. According to Professor Nadine Foster of Keele University, who was the lead author of one of the papers being published in a series, “The gap between best evidence and practice in low back pain must be reduced. We need to redirect funding away from ineffective or harmful tests and treatments and towards approaches that promote physical activity and function. We also need to intensify further research of promising new approaches such as redesigning patient pathways of care and interventions that support people to function and stay at work. There are examples of promising new solutions around the world, but they need to be more rigorously researched to work out if they should be implemented.”

This conclusion is entirely in keeping with the type of treatments that are offered at our lumbar spine practice in New Jersey. Starting with conservative treatments and physical therapy where appropriate, we offer minimally invasive treatment options that return our patients to their normal lives with less downtime and discomfort and faster recoveries. Some of these procedures include:

• Robotic spine surgery that increases the precision and accuracy of screw placement during a procedure
• Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion for the treatment of disc herniation in the neck
• Cervical disc replacement to address herniated or degenerated discs
• Minimally invasive lumbar discectomy to trim away damage from a herniated disc
• Lumbar spinal fusion to improve stability in the lower back

It is our practice philosophy that we always begin with conservative treatments such as directed exercise and physical therapy, injections and medication. When these approaches fail, our spinal surgery techniques are designed to be less invasive and safer, providing you with pain relief and a faster return to normal activity. To learn more about our lumbar spine specialty practice and how we can help, call us today to set up an appointment.

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