Responses To Lower Back Pain Is Changing

Responses To Lower Back Pain Is Changing

Back pain is one of the most common reasons for seeking medical care in the United States. According to the NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll, people are responding to their lower back pain differently than in the past, and their choices seem to vary depending on their education and income levels.

The Survey on Back Pain

On a regular basis, the TruvenHealth Analytics-NPR Health Poll surveys roughly 3,000 Americans to get their opinions on various health topics. During the first half of March 2017, 3002 participants were questioned on their experiences with lower back pain and their responses to it.

Roughly half of the participants (51%) reported that they suffered from lower back pain in the past 12 months. Of these, 58% sought medical care, while 55% said that they found a way to treat the pain themselves, that is, without going to a doctor. Since back pain, in many cases, can get better on its own, it would make sense that some individuals can skip seeing their physician. Furthermore, over-the-counter medication does provide some relief for back pain.

Here are additional results of the study:

The Survey on Back Pain<

What’s interesting about this survey is that the responses to lower back pain varied depending upon age and annual income. For instance, young adults were the least likely to go to a doctor for back pain; 64% of them reported that they treated the pain themselves.

There were also apparent correlations between income level and a person’s experience of low back pain. For instance, those with an annual income over $50,000 were more likely to say that their pain went away completely. A correlation was also found between education level and level of back pain: those who hadn’t graduated from college were more likely to report a continued problem with lower back pain. It’s important to keep in mind that these correlations need more research, especially exploring some of the contributing factors. For instance, those with a lower level of education might not have access to adequate medical care and have less disposable income to spend on complementary treatments such as acupuncture or massage.

For more information on the relationships between income, education, and reported experiences of back pain, read the survey’s full report.

Lower Back Pain May Not Require Opioids

Every person’s experience of pain is different. Yet, with lower back pain, many people may find that the aches and discomfort will go away on its own with time. Of course, each person’s level of pain and circumstances are different so it’s best to consult with a doctor. However, for those who are have sedentary jobs, do little exercise, experience a great deal of stress, and/or who are overweight, reducing back pain may simply be a matter of making changes to one’s lifestyle. Organizations such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Physicians (ACP) are recommending that individuals try other resources first before asking for a prescription for pain medication. For instance:

The explosive reliance on opioids over the past 15 years to manage pain has in some ways conditioned the American public that they simply need to take a pill to eliminate their pain. Fortunately, with education and growing awareness about the dangers of opioids, more and more people are making better choices, and finding their own ways to manage pain. In fact, in some cases, going to a doctor may be more risky especially if that doctor still endorses the use of opioids as a primary means of relieving pain.

Lower Back Pain May Not Require Opioids

Options for relieving back pain include:

Of course, keep in mind that the above list is simply to provide options. However, these tips may not work for everyone. To get a sense of whether any of the above suggestions may be effective for your condition, speak to a health professional. The point is that there are other methods to help relieve pain without taking prescription drugs. It may be important for anyone who experiences chronic lower back pain to assess their options, discuss those options with a health professional they trust, and develop a plan for living a healthy and pain-free life.

You Might Also Enjoy...

6 Tips For Living With Chronic Pain Through Quarantine

The Center for Disease Control reports that over 50 million people in America suffer from chronic pain. Living with chronic pain during the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult, especially during quarantine and stay at home orders. Here are 6 tips to help.

How Compassion Focused Therapy Helps To Ease Pain

Due to the complexity of this disease, it’s essential to note the importance of compassion focused therapy and other alternative therapies to ease chronic pain. It is not possible to adequately frame chronic pain as a health condition...

Chronic Pain And Anxiety: Are They Related?

Most people don’t like to think of the idea of getting hurt or get anxious thinking about pain, and that’s normal – but what about chronic pain and anxiety? Are those two related?