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Lead Author(s): 

Gunnar Andersson, MD, PhD

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

The prevalence of low back pain health care visits is greatest in the 45- to 64-year age group, which comprises 26% of the US population; it is followed by the 18- to 44-year age group, comprising 37% of the population. Together, the 18- to 64-year group represents 63% of the population, but is responsible for 72% of all low back pain health care visits. However, when adjusting for the 2010 US census population estimates, the frequency of health care visits for low back pain per 100 US populations is highest in the 65- to 74-year age group, where it is 33.4%. In reviewing the three diagnostic categories, back disorders dominate in all age groups. Disc disorders are uncommon in the below-18-years age group, but increase in frequency as the population ages. Back injuries are more common under the age of 44 years (22%), and declines to only 7% to 9% in those 65 years and older. (Reference Table 2.2.2 PDF CSV and Table 2.4.2 PDF CSV

The average age of persons hospitalized in 2010 for low back pain was 61.1 years. This compares to an average age of 42.7 years for persons visiting an emergency department, 50.9 years for visits to outpatient departments, and 52.6 years for visits to a physician. These numbers are essentially unchanged since 2004. (Reference Table 2.2.2 PDF CSV)
Average Age of Patient for Low Back Pain Visit by Resource
Low back pain is found more frequently among females than males, with females representing 55% of health care resource visits. Back disorders, in particular, are more frequent in females, while disc disorders are slightly more common in males. Nearly 8 in 10 (78%) female health care visits in 2010 for low back pain were classified as back disorders, compared to 73% for males. This is probably a reflection of the prevalence of spinal stenosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis in both sexes. (Reference Table 2.2.1 PDF CSV)


  • 2014

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