There have recently been many reports that back pain is a rising medical epidemic across the developed world, accounting for a surprisingly large percentage of medical complaints and disability claims. Most recently, an acupuncturist in Silicon Valley made news with her claim that Americans are experiencing increasing rates of back pain as a society because we have forgotten our “indigenous posture.”
According to an article in the New York Times, the idea that back pain is on the rise in the developed world may be more a matter of observational bias than of statistical fact. Evidence suggests not that we are seeing more people experiencing back pain, but that what is being observed is an increase both in the number of people seeking medical intervention to treat back pain and the amount of money being spent on back pain treatment (now up to 2.5% of total healthcare spending in the U.S.).
Dr. Solomon Kamson notes that the rising trend of individuals pursuing treatment for chronic back pain has led to the development of more techniques for its treatment. Back pain can stem from a number of causes, and more treatments are being developed to target specific issues. For example, regenerative medicine is an expanding field that focuses on repairing damaged tissue in the spine and other parts of the body. While many people who pursue back pain treatment will need surgical intervention at some point, a large number of other people will only need minor treatments that could be as simple as lifestyle changes.
That’s why, when it comes to treating back pain, earlier intervention is better. Though people tend to put off seeking medical attention until pain has become not only chronic but unbearable, getting an assessment and diagnosis earlier can mean that you’re more likely to get results from more conservative treatments like physical therapy or spinal injections. If surgery does become necessary, the Spine Institute Northwest specializes in minimally invasive spinal procedures. These can be performed on an outpatient basis, allowing you to recuperate in your own home and generally with a shorter recovery period.
The nature of back pain is that it is progressive — don’t wait until you literally can’t stand it. Call the Spine Institute Northwest at 206-496-0630 to learn more about our treatment options.