Chennai : A recent report published in Lancet identifies low back pain as the leading cause of disability in the world with 540 million people already in its grip across the globe.
In India, disability caused by low back pain is the fourth highest cause of disability after anaemia, migraine and musculo-skeletal disorders.
Low back pain is usually dull constant pain to high intensity pain affecting bone, nerves and muscles in the lower portion of the spine, which could be due to an injury or strain.
Being a very common symptom, low back pain is a leading cause of years lost to disability and the years lived with disability caused by low back pain has increased by 54 per cent in last 25 years, says the report.
Doctors say that back pain not only leads to disability, but also causes low productivity and affects quality of life, especially in the working population due to long working hours and lack of exercises.
“There can be various pathological reasons for low back pain including vertebral fracture, malignancy, or infection. But the risk is commonly high in working population due to physically demanding jobs, lifestyle changes, poor posture, physical and mental co-morbidities. Youngsters taking to smoking and alcohol also report higher risk. Obesity remains the greatest risk of causing low back pain,” said orthopedic specialist Dr K. Karthik.
The Lancet report highlights that disability due to low back pain is due to its perseverance. Though low back pain is mostly short term and periodical, however, recurrence is very common and in a small proportion of people, low back pain becomes persistent and disabling.
Various risk factors are initial high pain, psychological distress, pain at multiple sites in the body with persistent pain lead to disabling low back pain. “Though rest and medications are believed to be apt treatments for low back pain, it can be only true in case of injuries. Regular movement of lower back is necessary to prevent long term disability and regular exercise can prevent it as it usually occurs due to sedentary lifestyle,” said orthopedic surgeon Dr A. Vivek....