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Low back pain is a common problem. It is estimated that 60% to 80% of people in the U.S. will be affected by some form of low back pain during in their lifetimes. Most occurrences improve within weeks. Only 1% to 2% of patients requires surgery. Of the total number of back pain patients, 5% to 10% eventually develop chronic low back pain, and approximately 1% become disabled. Back pain is the:

  • second leading reason for doctor's office visits in the U.S.,
  • third most common reason for surgical procedures
  • fifth most common reason for hospital admissions.
  • most frequent cause of disability for people younger than 45 years of age
  • most common painful condition reported by patients after headache.
Doctors disagree somewhat on when the pain becomes chronic. Some consider the pain to be chronic if it continues for more than three months. Others believe that low back pain becomes chronic if it continues after the expected time for healing. Still others think that if the pain returns frequently in a cycle of pain, healing and recurrence it indicates that the patient has chronic back pain. Although most patients improve within the first three months, it is estimated that up to 75% of low back pain patients have one or more relapses at some point in the future.



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