Back pain: gender, age, frequency

Sex/Age

Pain associated with degenerative disc disease affects men and women equally.

Spine pain secondary to degenerative disc disease most often affects young to middle-aged people with peak incidence at around 40 years old. However, I have seen teenagers with significant degenerative disc disease. Factors such as genetics, trauma, environment can contribute to an earlier presentation. And of course, radiologic evidence of disc disease increases with age to nearly 100% by age 60. However, not all degenerative discs are painful.

Frequency

Up to an astonishing 90% of people will experience low back pain at some time in their lives. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over 14% of new visits to primary care physicians are for low back pain.

by Nathan S. Walters, MD
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