Diagnosing Low Back Pain. Pain in the lower back is one of the most common reasons for people to call in sick to work or be unable to function as well as they would like in their day to day lives. According to the World Health Organization low back pain accounts for around 149 million lost work days each year, which equates to between 100 and 200 billion dollars a year of losses due to reductions in productivity and lost earnings. It’s such a widespread condition, and yet initial treatment options predominantly consist of rest, massage, taking painkillers and gentle exercise. The situation has been described by doctors writing in the March editions of leading medical journal The Lancet as a “major global challenge”, with a reported 50% increase since 1990 in cases of disability due to back pain.