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Back & neck pain: number one cause of disability worldwide

Dr. Brady the ‘Spine Guy’

A group called the Global Burden of Disease Project 2010, and made up of a collaboration between the World Health Organization, the University of Queensland (Australia) School of Population Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the University of Tokyo and the Imperial College of London, clarified the worldwide health burden of musculoskeletal conditions and in particular, neck and back pain. Lower back pain was identified as the number one cause of disability worldwide and neck pain was identified as number four worldwide. The findings emphasize the fact that musculoskeletal disability has increased considerably when compared to a mere 20 – 30 years ago. In addition, because people are living longer they run a higher risk of living with the burden of pain and disability than past generations.

Dr. Scott Halderman, a chiropractor and a former professor of Neurophysiology at UC Irvine, California has highlighted some important points that came out of the project.

• Musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, neck pain and arthritis affect more than 1.7 billion people worldwide and have a greater impact on the health of the world population than HIV/AIDS, tropical diseases including malaria, the forces of war and nature, and all neurological conditions combined.

• Musculoskeletal conditions represent the fifth leading cause of death and disability. The first four are cardiovascular diseases, neonatal diseases, cancers and mental diseases.

• Low back pain is the most dominant musculoskeletal condition, accounting for 50% of disabilities and neck pain accounting for 20% of disabilities.

• Low back pain is the sixth most important contributor to the global disease burden and has a greater impact than malaria, birth complications, COPD, TB, diabetes and lung cancer.

• Current estimates suggest that over 632 million people worldwide suffer from low back pain and over 332 million people suffer from neck pain.

Dr. Halderman goes on to state that the Global Burden of Disease Study provides indisputable evidence that back and neck pain are an enormous problem all around the world and need to be given the same priority for resources as other conditions like cancer, mental health and cardio vascular disease. There were a total of seven studies from Global Burden of Disease 2010 and they were published in the British Medical Journal, The Lancet.

Information such as this shows that back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions are taken much more seriously when it is shown that the cost in dollars to industry and governments is so very high. As a chiropractor here in Tehachapi and treating patients with the very conditions that were addressed in the study, it makes it more personal and meaningful. The same percentages apply here in Tehachapi as in the rest of the world. Chiropractors treat a significant portion of the huge numbers of people that are estimated to have neck and back pain around the world and we are very successful in reducing their disability and suffering.

If you or anyone you know suffer with any musculoskeletal disorders that are either recent and acute or long lasting and chronic, consider making an appointment and see if you are a candidate for chiropractic care.

There is never a charge for the initial consultation.