In the Journals

26.4% of US workers report lower back pain

More than one-quarter of U.S. workers are likely to report having had lower back pain over the previous 3 months, according to a research report based on responses from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey.

When applied to the entire population, this amounts to nearly 40 million workers with a recent history of low back pain.

“The employment of patients with back pain has implications for both factors causing or contributing to the pain and its effects, but few estimates of the proportion of back pain that is related to work in the United States is available,” Sara E. Luckhaupt, MD, MPH, of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and colleagues wrote. “In 2015, the [National Health Interview Survey] collected supplemental data about the work-relatedness and the effects on work of back pain — specifically, low back pain (LBP) — among U.S. workers for the first time since 1988.”

Researchers used randomly selected adult respondents who were employed in the week before completing the survey. Respondents who answered an initial question about LBP and supplemental questions about back pain and work were included in the sample.

Woman in Back Pain
More than one-quarter of U.S. workers are likely to report having had lower back pain over the previous 3 months, according to a research report based on responses from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey.
Source: Adobe Stock

Among the study sample of 19,441 U.S. workers, 26.4% reported any LBP, 8.1% reported frequent and severe LBP and 5.6% reported work-related LBP.

Those with computer-based or mathematical occupations had the lowest prevalence of LBP. Workers with occupations in construction or extraction had the highest prevalence of any LBP and work-related LBP. Workers with occupations in building, grounds cleaning and maintenance reported the highest prevalence of frequent and severe LBP. Respondents who reported frequent exertion or standing were more likely to report all three outcomes than those who did not.

Among respondents, 21.4% with any LBP and 23.7% with frequent and severe LBP were told that their LBP was probably work related by a health professional, although most workers did not recall discussing whether their LBP was work related with a health professional.

Workers’ compensations claims were filed by 6% of workers with any LBP, 10.2% of workers with frequent and severe LBP and 18.4% of workers with work-related LBP.

In the 3 months before the survey, 16.9% of workers with any LBP and 19% with frequent and severe LBP missed at least 1 day of work due to LBP. LBP caused 6.1% of those with any LBP and 10.7% of those with frequent and severe LBP to make a major change in work activities in the last 3 months, change jobs or stop working altogether.

“Diagnosing an occupational cause may improve the chances of a patient’s recovery if an occupational exposure precipitating the pain can be reduced or eliminated and may allow the patient to apply for workers’ compensation to cover medical costs and lost wages.” Luckhaupt and colleagues wrote.

The opioid epidemic has spawned greater interest in nonpharmaceutical approaches to treating low back pain. However, previous research has indicated many PCPs are at an age where complementary and alternative medicines were not taught to them in medical school. Below, find a list of recent studies summarized on Healio Primary Care Today for an overview of nonopioid approaches to low back pain. – by Erin Michael

When initial treatment for low back pain fails

The opioid crisis has prompted many physicians to seek alternatives to treating low back pain, a condition that has affected approximately 25% of all adults for at least 1 day in the past 3 months, according to ACP. Read more.

Amitriptyline may effectively treat low back pain

Although treatment with low-dose amitriptyline did not achieve a significant difference in improvement of pain or work outcomes among patients with chronic low back pain at 6 months, it did reduce disability at 3 months without harmful adverse effects, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Read more.

Yoga seen as noninferior to physical therapy for treatment of chronic low back pain

For patients with non-specific chronic low back pain, a manualized yoga program was non-inferior to physical therapy for both function and pain, according to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine. Read more.

NSAIDs, when used properly, can be ‘happy medium’ in pain management

Primary care physicians need to discuss the risks and dangers of using NSAIDs with their patients, several doctors told Healio Primary Care Today. Read more.

Massage therapy alleviates chronic back pain in the ‘real world’

Massage therapy was beneficial to patients with chronic back pain, according to research appearing in Pain Management. Read more.

Combined acetaminophen, ibuprofen produces similar amount of pain relief as opioids in ED patients

ED patients with acute extremity pain had neither clinically important nor statistically significant differences in pain reduction at 2 hours when receiving a single dose of ibuprofen and acetaminophen or several different combinations of opioids and acetaminophen, according to findings published in JAMA. Read more.

ACP recommends drug-free treatment for low back pain

The ACP released an updated clinical practice guideline and two evidence reviews recommending that physicians avoid prescribing drugs, especially narcotics, for patients with acute or subacute nonradicular low back pain; instead, patients should be treated first with nonpharmaceutical therapies, such as superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, spinal manipulation or yoga. Read more.

Disclosures: Luckhaupt is a federal government employee. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

More than one-quarter of U.S. workers are likely to report having had lower back pain over the previous 3 months, according to a research report based on responses from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey.

When applied to the entire population, this amounts to nearly 40 million workers with a recent history of low back pain.

“The employment of patients with back pain has implications for both factors causing or contributing to the pain and its effects, but few estimates of the proportion of back pain that is related to work in the United States is available,” Sara E. Luckhaupt, MD, MPH, of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and colleagues wrote. “In 2015, the [National Health Interview Survey] collected supplemental data about the work-relatedness and the effects on work of back pain — specifically, low back pain (LBP) — among U.S. workers for the first time since 1988.”

Researchers used randomly selected adult respondents who were employed in the week before completing the survey. Respondents who answered an initial question about LBP and supplemental questions about back pain and work were included in the sample.

Woman in Back Pain
More than one-quarter of U.S. workers are likely to report having had lower back pain over the previous 3 months, according to a research report based on responses from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey.
Source: Adobe Stock

Among the study sample of 19,441 U.S. workers, 26.4% reported any LBP, 8.1% reported frequent and severe LBP and 5.6% reported work-related LBP.

Those with computer-based or mathematical occupations had the lowest prevalence of LBP. Workers with occupations in construction or extraction had the highest prevalence of any LBP and work-related LBP. Workers with occupations in building, grounds cleaning and maintenance reported the highest prevalence of frequent and severe LBP. Respondents who reported frequent exertion or standing were more likely to report all three outcomes than those who did not.

Among respondents, 21.4% with any LBP and 23.7% with frequent and severe LBP were told that their LBP was probably work related by a health professional, although most workers did not recall discussing whether their LBP was work related with a health professional.

Workers’ compensations claims were filed by 6% of workers with any LBP, 10.2% of workers with frequent and severe LBP and 18.4% of workers with work-related LBP.

In the 3 months before the survey, 16.9% of workers with any LBP and 19% with frequent and severe LBP missed at least 1 day of work due to LBP. LBP caused 6.1% of those with any LBP and 10.7% of those with frequent and severe LBP to make a major change in work activities in the last 3 months, change jobs or stop working altogether.

PAGE BREAK

“Diagnosing an occupational cause may improve the chances of a patient’s recovery if an occupational exposure precipitating the pain can be reduced or eliminated and may allow the patient to apply for workers’ compensation to cover medical costs and lost wages.” Luckhaupt and colleagues wrote.

The opioid epidemic has spawned greater interest in nonpharmaceutical approaches to treating low back pain. However, previous research has indicated many PCPs are at an age where complementary and alternative medicines were not taught to them in medical school. Below, find a list of recent studies summarized on Healio Primary Care Today for an overview of nonopioid approaches to low back pain. – by Erin Michael

When initial treatment for low back pain fails

The opioid crisis has prompted many physicians to seek alternatives to treating low back pain, a condition that has affected approximately 25% of all adults for at least 1 day in the past 3 months, according to ACP. Read more.

Amitriptyline may effectively treat low back pain

Although treatment with low-dose amitriptyline did not achieve a significant difference in improvement of pain or work outcomes among patients with chronic low back pain at 6 months, it did reduce disability at 3 months without harmful adverse effects, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Read more.

Yoga seen as noninferior to physical therapy for treatment of chronic low back pain

For patients with non-specific chronic low back pain, a manualized yoga program was non-inferior to physical therapy for both function and pain, according to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine. Read more.

NSAIDs, when used properly, can be ‘happy medium’ in pain management

Primary care physicians need to discuss the risks and dangers of using NSAIDs with their patients, several doctors told Healio Primary Care Today. Read more.

Massage therapy alleviates chronic back pain in the ‘real world’

Massage therapy was beneficial to patients with chronic back pain, according to research appearing in Pain Management. Read more.

Combined acetaminophen, ibuprofen produces similar amount of pain relief as opioids in ED patients

ED patients with acute extremity pain had neither clinically important nor statistically significant differences in pain reduction at 2 hours when receiving a single dose of ibuprofen and acetaminophen or several different combinations of opioids and acetaminophen, according to findings published in JAMA. Read more.

ACP recommends drug-free treatment for low back pain

The ACP released an updated clinical practice guideline and two evidence reviews recommending that physicians avoid prescribing drugs, especially narcotics, for patients with acute or subacute nonradicular low back pain; instead, patients should be treated first with nonpharmaceutical therapies, such as superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, spinal manipulation or yoga. Read more.

Disclosures: Luckhaupt is a federal government employee. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.