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Who Gets Low Back Pain?

t is known that roughly 90 per cent of all Americans will experience a disabling episode of low back pain at some time in our lives. It would therefore be helpful to know what are the risk factors for suffering chronic low back pain.

Unfortunately, many of the objective findings that show up on diagnostic tests are poor predictors of who will experience low back pain in the future. In fact, many people who are without pain have osteoarthritis of the spine or bulging or herniated discs. An actual physical cause cannot be found in 80 per cent of the people who have low back pain. One major study came up with only two reliable predictors for the likelihood of future back pain. One was a past history of back pain and the other was a history of cigarette smoking.

Prediction may be elusive but there are definitely certain known factors that increase the risk for a person developing low back pain. Jobs that require the worker to sit or stand for long periods of time or persons who are required to do heavy or frequent lifting are at risk. Seated workers increase the chance of developing pain by sitting for prolonged periods in an upright posture or leaning forward in their chairs. These postures concentrate increased pressures on the intervertebral discs. Since the health of the discs depend on pattern of loading and unloading of body weight a failure to change position from time to time will also lead to the development of low back pain.



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