About Back/Spine, Neck, and Shoulder Pain - The Statistics

Low back pain and neck pain are among the top contributors to chronic pain among adults.

Back/Spine, Neck, and Shoulder Pain - Did You Know:

  • The four most common types of pain include: low back pain (28%), knee pain (19%), headache (16%), and neck pain (15%).1
  • It is estimated that up to 80% of the US population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. The treatment of low back pain (LBP), in particular, runs at least $50 billion in US healthcare costs each year.2
  • Worldwide, years lived with disability caused by LBP have increased by 54% between 1990 and 2015.3 For example, in one study, the prevalence of chronic LBP in North Carolina rose from 3.9% in 1992 to 10.2% in 2006 across all adult demographics.4
  • Approximately 29% of the US population reported experiencing lower back problems in the past three months in 2019, compared to 28.1% in 1997. For those over the age of 65, in 1997, 29.5% experienced  back pain, increasing to 33.7% in 2013.5
  • Back problems are more common in adult women than men; nearly one-third of the female adult population suffers from LBP, compared to one-quarter of the male adult population.5 Approximately 31% of men acknowledged that their condition affects their employment compared to 20% of women.6
  • In patients seen through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the prevalence of LBP has been reported to range from 11% to 52%; almost 25% of patients who visit Veterans Affairs (VA) general medicine clinics suffer from chronic axial or spinal pain. Chronic low back pain is categorized as the eighth most prevalent condition in VA clinics.7
  • Rare spine pain conditions continue to grow in prevalence, including arachnoiditis (11,000 new cases each year), ankylosing spondylitis (US prevalence approximately 0.2% to 0.5%), and transverse myelitis (annually 1.34 to 4.6 cases per million; 1,400 new cases diagnosed each year, with 33,000 having some type of disability resulting from this condition in the US).8-10
  • Neck pain has an annual prevalence rate exceeding 30% among adults in the US; nearly 50% of individuals will continue to experience some degree of chronic neck pain or frequent occurrences.11
  • Among adults, 20% to 70% will experience neck pain that interferes with their daily activities during their lifetime.7
  • About 10% of neck pain is associated with illnesses such as polymyalgia rheumatica, ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, tumors, and infections.12
  • The reported annual incidence of shoulder pain in primary care is 14.7 per 1,000 patients per year with a lifetime prevalence of up to 70%. Recurrence rates are as high as 25%, and 40 to 50% of patients report persistent pain or recurrence after 12 months.13



Updated on: 07/29/19
Continue Reading:
Spine Pain: 3 Rare but Severe Conditions that Might Affect You