Whether your back pain is the result of years of hard physical labor or a violent on-the-job accident, you may now be unable to work. If so, you are not alone. Back injuries are one of the leading causes of missed workdays in the Portland area. And while some workers can manage their bad backs with an occasional sick day, millions of people are simply too physically limited by their back injuries to continue working.

Some facts about back pain in the U.S.

Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute estimates that each year, U.S. workers lose 83 million days of work because of back pain. Of workers with a chronic back condition, 64% have taken at least one sick day in the past year, compared with 45% of workers without a back problem.

Back pain can be an indication of poor overall health. About one in four people with back pain report being in poor or fair physical health. For those without back pain, just 11% report those levels of health. Meanwhile, back pain costs this country $12 billion per year. That figure includes direct health care costs, like physical therapy, doctor’s visits and operations, as well as indirect costs like missed days of work.

It is common for chronic back pain to force workers to retire early or otherwise leave the workforce. Just 62% of adults aged 45 to 64 with back pain are in the workforce, compared with 79% of adults in that age range who do not have a back problem.

If you are among the adults forced to stop working because of back pain, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. However, getting approved for benefits on your initial application can be difficult, and you may need to appeal. Discuss the details of your disability and how the benefits process works with an SSD attorney.