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The Facts About Back Pain and Middle Aged Men

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The Facts About Back Pain and Middle Aged Men

Key Facts About Back Pain Every Man Should Know

  1. Over 80% of the population will suffer from lower back pain during their lives. (2)
  2. 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time.(2)
  3. Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work.(2)
  4. One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year. (2)
  5. Back pain is the second most common reason adults consult a primary care provider.(2)
  6. Prevalence of back pain is increasing over  time, likely to be caused by aging of the general population and a more sedentary life, in developing countries.  The absolute change in the prevalence of back pain over one 35 years study was +19.4%.   (1) (3)
  7. The prevalence of back pain is higher among women than men. (1)
  8. Lower back pain is the most common type of back pain in developed countries, with the majority of lower back pain cases described as non-specific, i.e.  no Lower Back Painidentifiable pathology on radiological imaging.
  9. Exposure to occupational strain plays an important role for recurrent or persistent lower back pain among active workers.  However after retirement the higher prevalence of lower back pain among those with occupational exposure reaches equivalence with increasing age. (5)
  10. Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions. 
  11. Non-specific back pain can be improved with the appropriate management, and can greatly  reduce the symptoms.
  12. Middle aged men are twice as likely to experience back pain as younger men.  (1)
  13. Percentage of Middle aged men experiencing back pain at any time:
    1. Over 35 years old:  31.5 %
    2. Over 55 years old approaching:  43%

with these percentages increasing to 37% and 49% respectively,  for men classed as obese. (1)

Strength Training

  1. Medical studies have shown that total body resistance exercise is most effective in managing lower back pain than lumbar extensor exercise. (6)  




Every middle aged guy knows how debilitating back pain can be, and it can dramatically impact ones quality of life.  The prevalence of back pain increases with age (sorry guys).  But the good news is that most reported cases of back pain are non-specific in nature and can be successfully managed  by adopting some sensible lifestyle changes.


Back Pain Prevention and Management Checklist

  • Check with your doctor if back pain suddenly appears, or persists even with your normal management program
  • Buy a Good Mattress.  You sleep for one third of your life, your mattress should be firm and provide proper support for your body to minimise curvature of the spine
  • Stay physically active.  Exercise is a key element of almost any lower back pain treatment plan.
  • Strength training has been proven to be very effective in managing non-specific back pain.  Ah, yes a Midlife Man favourite.  If you have never tried weight lifting, give it a go, never too late to start. Check out The Midlife Man articles “Benefits of Weight Training for the Middle Aged Man” and “Weightlifting  Basics for the Middle Aged Man” 
  • Always warmup and stretch before exercise or other physical activity
  • If necessary, rest and use heat/ice packs which can help in relieving most back pain
  • Pain medications are often recommended to help with dealing with the pain. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking pain killers for managing back pain


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  1. A 35-Year Trend Analysis for Back Pain in Austria: The Role of Obesity 
  2. American Chiropractic Association 
  3. Aging Baby Boomers and the Rising Cost of Chronic Back Pain: Secular Trend Analysis of Longitudinal Medical Expenditures Panel Survey Data for Years 2000 to 2007 
  4. Spine 
  5. Low back pain around retirement age and physical occupational exposure during working life
  6. Resistance Exercise, Disability, and Pain Catastrophizing in Obese Adults with Back Pain
  7. Main Image source: Thrombocyte


Disclaimer: The content of this article and other articles on this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute professional advice. Please seek advice from a professional in the relevant field, in relation to any specific matter. Refer to the website Terms and Conditions. 



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