Back Anatomy


The Back Facts

It is estimated that back pain afflicts over 31 million Americans and is the number one cause of activity limitation in young adults.1 Within a given year, up to 50% of U.S. adults suffer from back pain.2

  • Americans spend at least $50 Billion each year on low back pain and it is the second most common neurological ailment in the United States.3
  • Low back pain is the second most frequent reason for visits to the physician.4
  • 80% of people over the age of 30 will experience back problems at some point in their lives. 30% of those will have recurring problems.5
  • Each year, there are approximately 916,000 spinal surgeries performed in the US.6
  • Back pain accounts for almost one fourth of all occupational injuries and illnesses.7
  • In the United States, back surgery rates increase almost proportionately with the supply of orthopaedic and neurosurgeons.8


1. National Committee for Quality Assurance, NCQA News, HEDIS? 2005; Focus is on Health Issues Familiar to Seniors, Working Americans, July 8, 2004.

2. Counseling to prevent low back pain: Section II. In: O?Malley AS, DiGuiseppi C, for the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventative Services: Report of the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force. 2nd Ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins; 1996.

3. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, ?Low Back Pain Fact Sheet,? July 2003.

4. Meta-Analysis: Acupuncture for Low Back Pain, Eric Manheimer, MS; Adrian White, MD, BM, BCh; Brian Berman, MD; Kelly Forys, MA; and Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, April 19, 2005, Volume 142 Issue 8, Pages 651-663.

5. ?Fast Facts on Back Pain.? North American Spine Society-A Non-Profit Corporation. Date Retrieved: May 11, 2007. .

6. National Hospital Discharge Survey: 2003. Vital and Health Statistics Series 13, Number 160, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center Health Statistics, Hyattsville, Maryland.

7. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, 2002.

8. Cherkin DC, Deyo RA, Loeser JD, Bush T, Waddell G. Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle. Spine. 1994 Jun 1;19(11):1201-6.

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