Vertos Medical Blog

Mobility Through the Decades: How Chronic Low Back Pain Is Limiting Patients’ Lives

Published December 5, 2022

When patients present complaining of chronic low back pain (CLBP), they’re relying on you, as their provider, to help them find answers. Many patients want to know what’s causing their pain, how their condition will progress over time, and perhaps most importantly, how they can find relief.

As revealed in the Mobility Matters: Landmark Survey on Chronic Low Back Pain in America, created in partnership with The Harris Poll, many CLBP patients feel that they have been left in the dark about the cause of their pain or their options for treatment; as a provider, you’re all too familiar with the challenges and frustrations that can come with chronic pain.

According to Mobility Matters: Landmark survey on chronic low back pain in America, an infographic. More than 72 million US adults report experiencing CLBP. 27 millions have never been told exactly what's causing their CLBP. More than 8 in 10 wish there were better treatment options for CLBP.

In this blog, we’ll share some of the results of the groundbreaking survey, including new insights into how CLBP can impact patients’ lives as they age. We’ll also explore a common, though often undiagnosed, cause of CLBP and discuss some of the treatment options available for patients seeking relief.

By staying informed about the causes of low back pain, educating patients about their treatment options, and encouraging patients to seek help from spine health specialists, healthcare providers can play a key role in improving patients’ quality of life.

See more insights from the survey here >

78% of Adults With Chronic Low Back Pain Don’t Know That An Enlarged Ligament May Be the Cause.

One cause of CLBP that often goes undiagnosed is an enlarged ligament in the lower back, which can contribute to lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). LSS is a common, yet overlooked, condition that is prevalent in nearly 20% of patients over the age of 60.

LSS is often caused by an enlarged ligament in the back, which compresses the space in the spinal canal and puts pressure on the nerves in the lower back. This pressure around the spinal cord can cause pain, numbness, heaviness, or tingling in the low back, legs, and buttocks.

By recognizing the symptoms and understanding the treatment options, you may be able to identify the condition sooner in your patients with chronic low back pain and get them on the path to lasting relief.

Image showing older man holding lower back as a result of pain. Text overlay states: "84% of people suffering from CLBP report moderate or severe pain"

Unsurprisingly, CLBP that may be caused by LSS has negative impacts on nearly every aspect of a patient’s life—most commonly in the ability to exercise, stand or walk for long periods of time, or get a good night’s sleep.

US adults say chronic low back pain (CLBP) has interfered with their ability to complete every day tasks: Exercising 63%, Standing 63%, Walking 58%, Getting a good night's sleep 55%

Introducing the Mobility Index

As patients age, it can be difficult to assess which mobility challenges are a normal part of aging, and which may have an explanation, such as an enlarged ligament.

The Mobility Index was designed to demonstrate just how different life could be for older adults if chronic low back or leg pain was not a limiting factor.

Results from the Mobility Matters survey indicate that adults with CLBP face significantly more difficulties performing physical activity and making it through the day without pain than their peers without chronic pain.

Infographic - Mobility Index through the decades. Comparing pain and mobility differences between people with and without chronic low back pain (CLBP) in their 50sInfographic - Mobility Index through the decades. Comparing pain and mobility differences between people with and without chronic low back pain (CLBP) in their 60sInfographic - Mobility Index through the decades. Comparing pain and mobility differences between people with and without chronic low back pain (CLBP) 65 and older.Infographic - Mobility Index through the decades. Comparing pain and mobility differences between people with and without chronic low back pain (CLBP) in their 70s

What Could Your Patients Do With Fewer Limitations?

Patients who suffer from CLBP are already familiar with the limits their pain can put on carrying out daily tasks and activities. But they may not even realize just how much they’re missing out.

When it comes to activities such as walking, dancing, using the stairs, and more, the Mobility Index can be a great tool for educating patients. By reviewing the differences in mobility between individuals with and without CLBP, you can help your patients understand more about their mobility and their options for relief.

Image of an older woman with a nurse. Text overlay reads: "Standing for 30+ Minutes. Among adults who don't suffer from CLBP, nearly 3 in 4 individuals aged 50-79 are able to easily stand for 30 minutes or longer. In contrast, the number of CLBP patients in the same age range who can do the same is just over 3 in 10. "

Mobility By the Decades: 50s

For CLBP patients in their 50s, having difficulty doing physical activities that were once a regular part of life, such as walking a mile or dancing for the duration of one song, can feel especially discouraging.

CLBP patients in their 50s that can easily walk for one mile or more, only 36%. Can easily dance through an entire song, only 41%. 50-somethings without CLBP that report being able to do these activities with ease, over 75%.

Mobility By the Decades: 60s

For patients in their 60s, there are some activities—like jogging—that aren’t especially popular. Even among individuals without CLBP, only 50% of respondents in their 60s reported the ability to jog easily. However, for patients suffering with CLBP, this number plummets to only 13%.


Chart: 50% vs 13%

Fewer than half of CLBP patients in their 60s say they feel satisfied with how their body gets around. In contrast, 80 percent of 60-somethings without chronic lower back pain are satisfied with their mobility. Non-CLBP 80%, CLBP 45%

Mobility By the Decades: 70s

80% of people in their 70s without CLBP are able to easily go up and down the stairs. But the experience may be significantly more challenging for CLBP patients of the same range, as fewer than half of those with CLBP were able to say the same.

I can go up and down the stairs with ease. Non-CLBP 80%. CLBP 45%.

Getting up from the floor is another activity that impacts CLBP sufferers much more than their peers who don’t experience chronic pain. While 66% of 70-somethings without CLBP reported ease in getting up or down from the floor, only 28% of those with CLBP were able to say the same.

I can get up or down from the floor with ease. Non-CLBP 66%. CLBP 28%.

Options for Low Back Pain & LSS Treatment

If you think lumbar spinal stenosis could be causing a patient’s low back pain, and common conservative treatment options such as physical therapy, pain medication, and epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are no longer providing adequate relief, it may be time to move to mild®.

The mild® Procedure, or minimally invasive lumbar decompression, is considered a gold standard of care among treatments for lumbar spinal stenosis. By addressing the root cause of pain, the enlarged ligament, mild® has helped 88% of patients avoid back surgery for at least 5 years while providing lasting relief.

The difference mild makes: stand 7x longer, walk 16x farther. Patients increased average standing time from 8 minutes to 56 minutes with less pain over one year. Patients increased average walking distance from 246 feet to 3,956 feet with less pain over one year.

Due to its minimally invasive nature and long-lasting durability, many interventional pain management physicians are making the move to mild® as an alternative to epidural steroid injections (ESIs), which may only work short-term and may require repeat injections to maintain relief.

More invasive courses of treatment can include procedures such as spacer implants or open surgery, though nearly 80% of CLBP sufferers have concerns about undergoing surgery.

CLBP Doesn’t Go Away On Its Own

For patients experiencing chronic low back pain, it’s never too early to act. Without addressing the root cause of pain—such as the enlarged ligament in cases of LSS—patients can often go years without finding relief.

89% of patients have been experiencing chronic lower back pain (CLBP) for1 year or more, with more than half (57%) experiencing it for more than 5 years. 89% 1 year or more vs 57% more than 5 years.

The Know Your Back Story campaign, a national public health awareness campaign, educates and encourages millions of people with CLBP to learn more about their “back story” and encourages providers to educate patients about LSS and the enlarged ligament that may be the source of this pain.

If your patients are seeking answers for chronic low back pain, they may benefit from the mild® Procedure as a first course of treatment. By referring patients to a local interventional pain management physician, you can help get them on the path to lasting relief.

Learn more about Mild.

Access more resources about the Know Your Back Story Campaign and the Mobility Matters Poll

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