Chronic Back Pain in America:
Survey Results

Spine Specialists and Healthcare Providers

Types of providers patients consulted

Primary care physicians (90%), pain management specialists (69%), and orthopaedic surgeons (57%) were most commonly seen by the survey participants (n=764). The responses were gathered from patients with different spinal conditions affecting the neck (cervical spine), mid back (thoracic spine), and/or low back (lumbar/sacral regions).

Specialists Most Often Seen

Furthermore, approximately, 15% sought care from complementary alternative medicine specialists. Thirty-six percent (36%) indicated they have seen a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional to help cope with chronic back pain.


Diagnosing Healthcare Providers

HCP/Diagnostician Cervical
Primary Care Physician 21% 30% 20%
Chiropractor 5% 4% 5%
Rheumatologist 6% 3% 4%
Orthopaedic Surgeon 26% 22% 32%
Neurosurgeon 24% 21% 23%
Pain Medicine Specialist 13% 13% 11%
Other 5% 7% 5%


Healthcare Appointment Outcomes
Patients with chronic back pain (n=764) were asked what was discussed during their appointment; which examinations were performed, tests ordered, and their perception of the healthcare professional and his/her medical and office staff.

Medical history 83%
Family's medical history 63%
Asked what may have caused pain to start 77%
Describe "your" pain 94%
Describe how pain affects "your" life 67%

Performed a physical examination 86%
Performed a neurological examination 82%
Checked range of motion 78%

X-ray 80%
CT scan 44%
MRI 81%
EMG 38%
Diagnostic spinal injection 39%
Myelography 12%
Blood/laboratory tests 59%

How patients' perceived the attitudes of healthcare providers and their staffs. More than half of the patients who responded to this question indicated they felt their physician was sincere.

Attitude Physician Medical Staff Office Staff
Sincerity 55% 40% 36%
Compassion 40% 34% 26%
Understanding 41% 34% 29%
Caring 34% 32% 27%
Serious 24% 14% 14%
Rushed 13% 13% 15%
Dismissive 10% 5% 6%
Not Interested 4% 7% 12%


Updated on: 03/05/14
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Effective Non-operative Chronic Back Pain Treatments
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Effective Non-operative Chronic Back Pain Treatments

Adult patients who participated in the Chronic Back Pain in America 2013 Survey selected non-operative treatments they felt were most effective. See which therapies were better at relieving chronic neck and back pain.
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