Back Pain Cases Expected To Surge To 800 Million By 2050

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Spinal x-ray

Unless we take a proactive approach to solving the issue, a new report suggests that the number of people who will be suffering from back pain will reach 800 million by the year 2050.

According to the model published in the Lancet Rheumatology journal, more than 840 million people will deal with problematic back pain by the year 2050. Researchers say this influx is largely due to the population increase and an aging population. While the biggest increases are expected to be in Asia and Africa, there’s no reason to think that the United States is immune from back pain.

“Our analysis paints a picture of growing low back pain cases globally, putting enormous pressure on our healthcare system,” said study lead author, Professor Manuela Ferreira from the University of Sydney in Australia. “We need to establish a national, consistent approach to managing low back pain that is informed by research.”

What’s Driving This Increase?

The findings paint a concerning portrait of the future impact that back pain may have on society and the healthcare system. In 2020, there were approximately 619 million cases of back pain, and that number may jump by nearly 40 percent over the next 30 years. But what is driving this massive increase in back pain?

According to researchers, at least one third of back pain cases are tied to one or more of the following factors:

  • Occupational Factors – If your back is stressed during the 40 hours or more you work each week, it should come as no surprise that you are experiencing back pain as you get older. You don’t need to be working manual labor to experience this discomfort. Many sedentary workers place an excessive amount of strain on their lumbar spine when they are seated in a chair for an extended period of time. Occupational stress is a leading cause of back pain in America and across the globe.
  • Smoking – While smoking has become less common than it was decades ago, tobacco use still plays a significant role in back pain onset on a global scale. Smoking decreases healthy blood flow throughout your body and can expedite the natural disc degeneration process. One of the best things you can do for the future of your spine is to avoid smoking or to kick the habit if you smoke.
  • Obesity – Waistlines are getting bigger in America and across the globe, and that is causing problems for our spine. The heavier we are, the more stress our spine has to help disperse, and over time this can cause structures to wear down quicker. Degenerative disc disease is a problem among overweight or obese people, and their back may be weaker if the reason they are overweight is due in part to their inactive lifestyle. Losing just a couple pounds can take a lot of stress off your spine, so shrink your waistline to take some of the strain off your spinal column.

Back pain will certainly be a major strain on the healthcare system in the coming decades unless we take conscious steps to help prevent the issue and to better treat problems in their infancy. Don’t ignore back pain until it snowballs into major discomfort. Instead, reach out to a spine specialist in your area and fight back against spine pain. Dr. Sinicropi can help you reduce your risk of developing back pain later in life, or he can help alleviate a condition that has already set in. For more information, or for help with a spine issue, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.

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