We know that chronic low back pain contributes to disability, but what has been unclear is by how much. The Global Burden of Disease study published in the journal The Lancent in 2012 found that chronic low back pain is the #1 cause of disability in the world. Additionally the same study found that chronic neck pain is the #4 cause of disability in the world. This was a substantial study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. It was a follow-up to the 1990 Global Burden of Disease study.
The authors calculated disability adjusted life years (DALY) for 291 causes, 20 age groups, both sexes, and for 187 countries, and aggregated to regional and global estimates of disease burden for three points in time with strictly comparable definitions and methods. DALY is a measure of overall disease burden expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death. Subsequently disease burden is the impact of a health problem as measured by financial cost, mortality, morbidity, or other indicators. A key finding of this study found the global disease burden has shifted away from communicable to non-communicable diseases and from premature death to years lived with disability. This means that, worldwide, people are suffering less from infectious disease and instead are developing and struggling with chronic illness and disease.
According to this study, chronic low back pain is a major contributor to chronic back pain and if you look around today’s “standard” care for chronic back pain sucks. Standard care has included pain medications including opiates, home exercise, and even standard PT or standard chiropractic care. Our care is not standard because we base our care on posture and spine correction, the research indicates that long term relief of care is best obtained if posture and spinal alignment is measurably corrected. If you read through this blog you will see several posts on papers that show the superior nature of spine and posture correction care over standard care for chronic spine pain.