The Challenge

Low back pain affects a large number of working adults all around the world – Chronic low back pain is a major health problem of the modern world and can affect anyone at any age, but is most common between the ages of 35 – 55. Approximately two thirds of people will have low back pain sometime during their life and each year 15%-45% of the population will experience an episode of low back pain1. About 90% of people with low back pain recover within 90 days, but after that, recovery is slow and uncertain and approximately 7% of affected people end up with chronic low back pain1. Very few cases of low back pain have a cause identifiable with medical imaging (MRI, CT or X-Ray), and the remainder (about 85%1) are referred to as “non-specific” low back pain.

Chronic Low Back Pain incurs a significant economic burden – Estimates of the total direct and indirect cost of back pain range from 0.2%-1.7% of GDP in key markets2,3. Back pain is the most common reason for years lived with disability worldwide and the largest single cause for absence from work, accounting for about 12% of all lost working days4. About 80% of the health care and social costs related to low back pain are for the 10% with chronic pain and disability5.

Recovery from chronic low back pain is limited – For individuals with back pain for more than three months, studies have shown that recovery is slow and uncertain. Fewer than half of those individuals disabled for longer than six months return to work and, after two years of absence from work, the return-to-work rate is close to zero.

A new solution is needed – Mainstay Medical is dedicated to helping the millions of people with chronic low back pain by developing ReActiv8 which is designed to facilitate their return to an active and productive life. Importantly, helping people with chronic low back pain return to work will help reduce the associated global economic burden of health care, lost work days and productivity.

  • 1 Hall, H. & McIntosh, G. Low back pain (chronic). Clin. Evid. (Online). 2008, 1–28 (2008).
  • 2 Kent, P. M. & Keating, J. L. The epidemiology of low back pain in primary care. Chiropr. Osteopat. 13, 13 (2005).
  • 3 Wenig, C. M., Schmidt, C. O., Kohlmann, T. and Schweikert, B. (2009), Costs of back pain in Germany. European Journal of Pain, 13: 280–286. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2008.04.005
  • 4 Vos, T. et al. Years lived with disability (YLDs) for 1160 sequelae of 289 diseases and injuries 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet 380, 2163–96 (2012).
  • 5 Nachemson AL, Waddell G & Norlund AI. Epidemiology of neck and low back pain. In Nachemson AL & Jonsson E (eds.) Neck and Back Pain: The Scientific Evidence of Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2000, pp. 165–188.
  • 6 Woolf, A. D. & Pfleger, B. Burden of major musculoskeletal conditions. Bull. World Health Organ. 81, 646–56 (2003)