By becoming educated on the risk factors that cause back injuries, a majority of the general population can prevent agonizing and potentially disabling pain during their lifetimes. Back injuries can occur gradually over time as a result of trauma caused by repetitive activity or can result from a single traumatic event (Back). The signs and symptoms of a back injury may include pain when trying to assume a normal posture, decreased mobility, and pain when standing from a seated position (Back). Warning signs that should cause concern may include radiating pain down a leg, numbness or loss of sensation in a leg, weakness or loss of muscular strength in a leg, constant pain in the back or leg that is not affected by motion, pain in the upper beck or chest, or increased pain at night when lying down (Low 5). Ebony author Alex Poinsett describes how terrible back pain can be. He wrote:
To hear backache sufferers tell it, nothing is more excruciating than the pain which shoots from the lower back, through the sciatic nerve (largest in the body) and down one or both legs. They can neither sit, stand nor lie down comfortably, and movement of any kind is sometimes an ordeal. (154)
Statistics show that the majority of people suffer from back injuries during their lifetimes. According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive, back pain will occur in 80 percent of people during their lifetimes (Woodward 58). Fifteen percent of the adult population in the United States has had persistent low-back pain during a point in their lives (Poinsett 154). HR Magazine author Nancy Hatch Woodward points out “lower back pain is the No. 2 reason Americans visit their doctors” (57). One in every five people in the general population is affected by lower back pain each year (Cole and Grimshaw 173). Five million people in the United States are partially disabled by back problems (Poinsett 154). Research shows that lower back pain is the most frequent cause of activity limitation among people aged less than 45 years old (Cole and Grimshaw 174). Research also shows that lower back pain is the third most frequent cause of activity limitation behind arthritis and coronary heart disease for people older than 45 years old (Cole and Grimshaw 174). .
Back injuries cause great impact to people and their employers. As HR Magazine author Nancy Hatch Woodward points out, “back pain remains one of the most common complaints in the workplace today and it can be devastating” (57). The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2005 that more than 270,000 cases of back injuries and illnesses were reported in the workplace, with those affected taking an average of seven days off of work (Woodward 58).
Back injuries also cause a significant loss of productivity. HR Magazine author Nancy Hatch Woodward references a December 2006 study in the journal Spine, “productivity losses for employers are estimated to be $7.4 billion a year” (57). Back injuries account for...