Lower back pain is the leading cause of job disability worldwide, Time.com reported.
After analyzing data from 117 studies in 47 different countries, researchers found that lower back pain is the top cause for years lost because of disability. The study, published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, reported that about one in 10 people suffer from lower back pain.
The prevalence is highest in Western Europe and lowest in the Caribbean and Latin America.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS), Americans spend at least $50 billion annually on costs related to lower back pain. But while standard pain killers, heat or ice and even surgery are treatment options, one of the most effective treatments is exercise, according to experts.
“Exercise may be the most effective way to speed recovery from low back pain and help strengthen back and abdominal muscles. Maintaining and building muscle strength is particularly important for persons with skeletal irregularities,” the NINDS wrote on its website.
Living with pain and disability isn’t getting enough attention, the study’s authors point out.
“Governments, health service and research providers and donors need to pay far greater attention to the burden that low back pain causes than what they had done previously,” the authors wrote.