Your back is an important part of your body, it’s also a very clever design. Due to the individual bones and soft discs between them, you can maintain body strength and yet still be flexible enough to move, bend, and twist.
Unfortunately, most people take their back for granted. But, living in the modern world generally means a lot of sitting, this isn’t good for your back and is part of the reason an estimated 16% of Australians have a bad back.
It’s a serious issue and not just because the pain can be deliberating. Lower back pain causes society millions of dollars every year. You’re about to discover how, which is why it’s essential, if you have an issue with your back, you should see a specialist spine surgeon, find out your options, and get treatment as early as possible.
It’s estimated that 100,000 Australians are off sick in any given week. This number does fluctuate according to the season. However, it is instantly easy to see the cost to individuals and businesses.
Companies see reduced productivity as they have fewer staff than usual. Staff see a reduction in wages as they are sick, not on holiday or working, and consumers may see an increase in product prices as reduced productivity makes stock limited.
Perhaps the largest cost is to the healthcare industry or specific insurance companies. Sick days often mean visits to a doctor for the required proof of illness. When the issue is lower back pain, this is likely to be recurring and result in a variety of treatment options.
All of these will cost and involve additional time off work. In most cases, it is the insurance company that bears the brunt of the cost.
However, there is a knock-on effect on society in general. The more cases of back pain that are being dealt with, the harder it is for healthcare professionals to administer care to other illnesses.
In effect, the societal cost isn’t financial, it’s an increased risk of complications due to illnesses taking longer to treat.
Another cost which is often borne by consumers is the addition of home aids. That’s safety rails, stairlifts, and other items which can make life easier at home for those with lower back pain.
An additional, often overlooked cost of this is to younger house hunters. People with back issues that have had aids fitted to their home will be reluctant to move as they will need the aids fitted again.
This reduces stock on the housing market, effectively helping to push property prices up and depriving first-time buyers of a spot on the property ladder.
It’s worth noting that many people with severe lower back pain find it hard to undertake daily tasks. This can often mean a reduction in independence and a greater need for support. Naturally, this can be provided but there is a serious impact on quality of life, which is detrimental to society in general.