Back pain facts


  1. General
  2. Economic Cost
  3. Golf
  4. Cycling
  5. Baseball
  6. Cricket


  • Back pain is now the world’s leading cause of disability.
  • Worldwide, years lived with disability caused by low back pain have increased by 54% between 1990 and 2015.
  • Most people with low back pain recover, however reoccurrence is common and for small percentage of people the condition will become chronic and disabling.
  • Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
  • Back pain is the third most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, behind skin disorders and osteoarthritis/joint disorders.
  • Back pain can affect people of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly.
  • Back pain affects half the population in a given month and close to 90% of people at some point in their life.
  • Every year in the UK, more than 2 million people develop chronic or persistent back pain that may never go away.
  • 70% of people with back pain said it impacted their ability to work.
  • 80% of people with back pain said it impacted their home life.
  • 83% of people with back pain said it impacted their ability to take part in leisure activities.

Economic Cost:

  • In the US, the overall economic cost of back pain has now just reached £2 billion. 
  • Living with persistent back pain is associated with significantly higher rates of job loss, divorce, depression and suicide.
  • 12 million hours of work are lost every year due to back pain in the UK. 
  • Managing back pain costs the UK government more than cancer and diabetes combined. Most of these costs are related to treating people with ongoing pain. 
  • Low-back pain costs Americans at least $50 billion in health care costs each year – add in lost wages and decreased productivity and that figure easily rises to more than $100 billion.


  • Based on data collected at TPI from over 31,000 golfers, 28.1% of all players deal with lower back pain after every round.
  • Altered motor control or joint mechanics in golf leads to 80% of all chronic back problems
  • According to TPI, over 23% of pro golfers already play with lower back pain.
  • The prevalence of low back injuries in professional golfers has been estimated to be up to 55%.


  • 58% of cyclists have had back pain.
  • In a study on 116 professional road cyclists, 94% of the cyclists had suffered some kind of overuse injury during that period.
  • 41% of cyclists have had to get medical attention due to back pain.
  • In a study on 116 professional road cyclists, 94% of the cyclists had suffered some kind of overuse injury during that period.
  • In another study of 111 Swiss elite cyclists, 51.4% of athletes had severe back pain in competition.


  • Often affecting players new to the game, poor form while pitching and batting can place added pressure on facet joints and other vulnerable parts of the spine.
  • Back and core injuries may represent as many as 12% of all injuries that result in time out of play from MLB
  • 59.7% of baseball players show signs of disc degeneration
  • 89.5% of the baseball players studied reported having low back pain at some point during their life


  • For fast bowlers, back pain causes 30% of lost game time.
  • Fast bowlers have an unusually high prevalence of up to 67%, compared with the general population, in which the prevalence is about 6%.
  • On average, around 9% of cricketers have an injury at any given time, although in fast bowlers over 15% are injured at any given time.
  • Research has suggested that bowling is by far the most common cause of injuries in cricket (41%).