Back Pain: Massive Problem, Badly Treated

The burden of back pain

Why are better approaches to helping sufferers so slow to spread?

Jan 18th 2020

Pete Moore was 43 when he woke up one autumn morning with back pain so excruciating that he struggled to dress himself.

His doctor in Romford, an English town, referred him to hospital for an mri scan; this showed that some of the spongelike discs that separate the spine’s vertebrae were bulging out of the slots into which they customarily fit.

Such “slipped” discs can be caused by an injury; but they are also the sort of thing which can just happen with increasing age.

Mr Moore received a prescription for opioids to help him cope with the pain; but the pain persisted, and he found himself becoming loopy.

...article continued below
- Advertisement -

Unable to work or do much else, Mr Moore, who had been a painter, sank into depression. Three years into his ordeal, he says, he was “thinking of ending it all”.

Back pain does not, in and of itself, kill people. But it makes a huge number of lives a misery.

In most countries for which there are reliable figures, whether rich or poor, back pain is the top cause of disability, measured by the aggregate number of years lived in poor health. That burden is decreasing (see chart) but only very slowly.

The costs, however, have been rising quite quickly—and are enormous. In 2013, according to one study, $88bn was spent on medical treatments for back and neck pain in America, not far short of the $115bn spent on cancer (more recent figures have not been analysed in a comparable way). A great deal of this money seems, sadly, to do little good.

Doctors used to think that back pain was almost entirely the result of mechanical damage to tissue beyond the capacity of x-rays to detect. Read more. 

...article continued below
- Advertisement -

MORE OF TODAY’S TOP HEALTH NEWS: How Porn Changes Your Brain | Cooking Oil Linked To Alzheimer’s | How Big Rx Is Emptying Your Wallet

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


Obama Wants 675 People At His Birthday Party

NY POST – Former President Barack Obama is creating a “nightmare” by trying to get nearly 700 people to his 60th birthday bash in...

Current Vaccines Projected To Fail

London (CNN) An analysis by British academics, published Friday by the UK Government's official scientific advisory group, says that they believe it is "almost...

Democrat’s Wish For Lindsey Graham: “Hope He Dies”

Fox News – Kate Coyne-McCoy, the chief strategist of the Rhode Island Democratic Party, faced swift criticism late Monday over a tweet about Sen....

Deja Vu All Over Again: Wuhan’s Huge Covid Outbreak

China Orders Mass Testing In Wuhan As COVID Outbreak Spreads BEIJING (AP) — China suspended flights and trains, canceled professional basketball league games and announced...

Florida, Texas Are Covid Epicenters

TUESDAY, AUG 3 2021 Florida And Texas Are Covid Epicenters With Third Of US Cases Reported There In Florida, criticism grows over Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis'...

Vaccine 99.999% Effective Against Deadly Covid-19 Breakthroughs

(CNN)More than 99.99% of people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 have not had a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization or death, according to the latest...

Hospital Workers Protest Vaccine Requirement

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER – Hundreds of Charlotte-area healthcare workers and supporters protested Sunday against Atrium Health’s new coronavirus vaccination policy. The protest from Freedom Park to...

“Mask Mandates Are Stupid, And Donald Trump Won The Election”

Rep. Matt Gaetz called Dr. Anthony Fauci a “sniveling twit” and said without evidence that Democrats are using the coronavirus to create socialism in America.

“The Damn Vaccine” – Dying Dad’s Last Words

LAS VEGAS (KVVU) - A family is mourning the loss of a husband and father after he died from COVID-19. “He was only 39; our...

Pentagon Preps For Mandatory Vaccine Enforcement

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is vowing he "won't let grass grow under our feet" as the department begins to implement the...
- Advertisement -