What is the prevalence of mechanical back pain?

Updated: Aug 27, 2020
  • Author: Debra G Perina, MD; Chief Editor: Trevor John Mills, MD, MPH  more...
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Mechanical low back pain is one of the most common patient complaints expressed to emergency physicians in the United States accounting for more than 6 million cases annually. Global studies have shown that low back pain is one of the most common complaints experienced by physicians in most countries. [13, 2]

According to the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), approximately 183,151 patients with a primary diagnosis of low back pain were discharged from US hospitals between 1998 and 2007. During this period, an average of 65% of these patients were admitted through the ER, with a significant increase from 1998 (54%) to 2005 (71%). Multivariate analysis showed that uninsured patients (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.7-2.6, P< 0.0001) and African American patients (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.2-1.7, P< 0.0001) were significantly more likely to be admitted through the ER than private insurance patients or Caucasian patients, respectively. [14]

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