Chronic Low Back Pain – Facts and Figures

The effect of chronic back pain

Who suffers from lower back pain? How does it affect their lifestyle?

Facts are taken from an Irish Opinion Health survey which was part of a wider analysis across 10 European countries.

40% were diagnosed with low back pain – the most common type of back pain

48% of Irish people surveyed had suffered from back pain for more than 5 years

62% of patients had to wait for over a month for specific diagnosis

68% suffered from back pain at least once a week or more

48% of patients said that they had given up hobbies to cope with back pain

The average total cost for a single episode of low back pain over 12 weeks is €20,531

395,000 Adults (11.9%; 95% CI = (8.8%, 14.9%) had low back pain or another chronic back condition in the previous 12 months that had been clinically diagnosed

On average people suffering from chronic back pain took 11 days on average off work 

7/10 sufferers took painkillers before consulting a doctor

69% of nerve-related back pain patients requested time away from work last year

27% of people were receiving income support due to chronic back pain making it the highest single reason for people claiming income support.

After an initial episode of low back pain, 44-78%of people suffer relapses of pain and 26-37%, relapses of work absence.

The economic cost of chronic noncancer pain in Ireland: Results from the PRIME study, part 2 Raftery M.N., Ryan P., Normand C., Murphy A.W., De La Harpe D., McGuire B.E. (2012) Journal of Pain, 13 (2) , pp. 139-145. Institute of Public Health in Ireland (2012). Musculoskeletal Conditions Briefing: Technical Documentation.  Dublin: Institute of Public Health in Ireland  Adherence of Irish general practitioners to European guidelines for acute low back pain: a prospective pilot study’ (School of Physiotherapy and Performance Science, University College Dublin — Eur J Pain. 2007 Aug; 11(6):614-23) Airaksinen et al (2004) EUROPEAN GUIDELINES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF CHRONIC NON-SPECIFIC LOW BACK PAIN. On behalf of the COST B13 Working Group on Guidelines for Chronic Low Back Pain.

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