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Common Causes of Disability: Back Pain

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According to the website webmd.com, Americans have a one in three chance of becoming disabled before they retire. Common causes of disability include:

  • Arthritis and other musculoskeletal problems
  • Back pain
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Diabetes

Our next few blog posts will provide more detail about each of these conditions.

Back Pain

According to the National Library of Medicine, back pain affects eight out of 10 people sometime in their lifetimes. Usually it goes away with rest, exercise and over-the-counter pain relievers. However, it can also be long-lasting and very debilitating.

Another source, the American Chiropractic Association, reports that low back pain, rather than arthritis, is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Other statistics from this source include:

  • Half of all Americans admits to having back pain at least once a year.
  • Back pain is the second most common reason for visits to a doctor.
  • Back pain is the most common reason for missed work.
  • Americans spend at least $50 annually on back pain, although other sources say the amount is much greater.
  • At least 80 percent of all Americans will experience back problems at least once during their lives.

A study reported on the website Healthday.com states that low back pain is responsible for at least one-third of work-related disability. According to this website, the prevalence of back pain varies by geography. It was highest in Western Europe and lowest in the Caribbean and Central America. Despite the frequency of back pain in the North American population, it is actually relatively low, especially in high income areas of the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The risk of back pain is considerably higher - four times higher - for people working in agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, hunting and fishing, according to a survey conducted jointly by U.S. and Australian researchers. The next category, laborers, production workers and transportation equipment operators, were 54 percent more likely to have low back pain; service workers were 47 percent more likely. Clerical workers had the lowest risk of back pain.

Contact an SSD Advocate

If your back pain makes it impossible to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. To learn more, contact Binder & Binder®, America's most successful SSD advocates. Tell them your story and find out how they can help.

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