Low Back Pain : A Highly Prevalent Socioeconomic Health Issue

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Low back pain is a highly prevalent socioeconomic health issue in the world we live in today and one of the top causes of disability - affecting work performance and the overall quality of life for many. The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study estimated that out of 289 health conditions, low back pain ranked number one in terms of disability (YLDs - Years Lived with Disability), and sixth in terms of overall burden (DALYs - Disability-Adjusted Life Years) (Lancet, 2012). It is estimated that 60% to 70% of the industrialized population will experience non-specific (most common type) low back pain in their lifetimes with a one-year prevalence of 15% to 45%, adults occurring 5% per year (Taimela, Kujala, Salminen, Viljanen, 1997, 1132-1136). Children and adolescents have a lower prevalence rate than adults, but is rapidly on the rise (Balague, Troussier, Salminen, 1999, 429-438). This pervasiveness of low back pain causes a great economic strain on individuals, families, communities, industries, and governments as it is the leading reason of activity limitation and work absence worldwide (Andersson, 1997, 93-141). In the United Kingdom, more than 100 million work days are lost every year due to low back pain disability among young adults (Croft, 1993, 710-3). In Sweden, more than 28 million work days were lost in 1987, quadrupling the 7 million lost in 1980 (Croft, 1993, 710-3). And in the United States, 149 million work days are lost every year (Guo, Tanaka, Halperin,

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