Chronic Back Pain in America:
Survey Results

Causes of Chronic Back Pain Summarized

Ninety-five percent (95%) of 758 adult patients reported pain in the lumbar and/or sacral regions, 47% cervical and 33% thoracic. Deeper into the survey results, it was revealed that 360 patients reported chronic pain in the cervical region, 248 in the thoracic region, and 719 in the lumbar/sacral regions. Many patients who took the survey have chronic back pain in more than one region, although the percentages are not known from the results of this study.

Symptoms by Region of the Spine

Symptoms Cervical*
(n=360)
Thoracic*
(n=248)
Lumbar/
Sacral*
(n=719)
Pain 94% 92% 96%
Tingling 62% 43% 56%
Burning 57% 53% 58%
Shooting Pain 57% 58% 70%
Achy 72% 77% 74%
Stiff 88% 86% 83%
Muscle Spasms 67% 75% 70%
Radicular Pain 70% 64% 68%
Movement exacerbates symptoms 69% 76% 70%

*Cervical: 76% of patients reported headache

*Thoracic: 34% of patients reported bowel and/or bladder dysfunction

*Lumbar/Sacral: 72% of patients reported hip pain/discomfort, 58% reported sacroiliac joint pain, 67% reported buttock pain, 70% reported thigh and leg pain, 58% sciatica, and 30% bowel/bladder dysfunction.

Pain Descriptions by Region of the Spine

Pain Descriptions Cervical
(n=360)
Thoracic
(n=248)
Lumbar/
Sacral
(n=719)
Mild, minor 1% 1% 1%
Tolerable 15% 15% 11%
Strong 18% 16% 17%
Piercing 12% 10% 11%
Intense 18% 16% 21%
Very intense 17% 26% 20%
Extremely intense 10% 9% 9%
Excruciating 5% 5% 7%
Worst imaginable 4% 2% 3%


Causes of Chronic Back Pain
Survey participants (n=764) were given a list of 14 possible causes of chronic back pain, and asked, “What do you think started your chronic back pain?” Participants were allowed to check all causes applicable to their individual chronic back pain.

Most Common Diagnoses Related to Chronic Spine Pain

Diagnoses Cervical
(n=360)
Thoracic
(n=248)
Lumbar/
Sacral
(n=719)
Bulging Disc 46% 37% 44%
Degenerative Disc Disease 68% 64% 66%
Herniated Disc 39% 30% 43%
Spinal Stenosis 41% 31% 43%
Spondylosis 33% 27% 29%

 

Comorbidities
The most prevalent comorbidities (n=764) were depression (53%), anxiety (45%), and high blood pressure (44%).

Updated on: 03/05/14
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Spine Specialists and Healthcare Providers
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Spine Specialists and Healthcare Providers

What types of healthcare providers did patients with chronic back pain see, and what was their perception of the doctor's attitude? Interesting results from the Chronic Back Pain in America 2013 survey.
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