BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma - Back pain is the number one cause of disability in the world according to two new studies. Researchers say it's costing Americans billions of dollars every year.

Two years ago Broken Arrow resident Kathy Shadden never thought she'd be able to do any bending or lifting.

"It was pain every step, literally every step," Shadden said.

Shadden was seriously injured in a car wreck, blowing out discs her back and neck. All she could do was sit in a chair, try to keep her mind off the pain, and hope her grandchildren understood why she couldn't play with them.

"Your back controls your legs, that's your movement, that's your lifting, that's your life, and if you can't bend over and do something as simple as picking up your grandchild to love on them, it totally interferes with your life," Shadden said.

Back pain is becoming an all too common injury in the United States.

Dr. Kris Parchuri, an orthopedist, said cases like Shadden's, where the back is injured in a wreck are not unusual. But he said he's starting to see younger patients who injure their backs because they don't get enough exercise.

He said the best way to prevent a back injury is to stay active.

"Core strengthening, strengthening your muscles in your abdominal area and your lower back, and stretching exercises and staying active is the best way to prevent back injuries," Parchuri said.

Shadden had surgery to repair her back, but Parchuri said that may not always be necessary. He said rest, anti-inflammatory medications, or physical therapy can help get rid of back pain.

Shadden is now pain free and grateful that her life is back to normal.

"Yea I do. Yes, I do and I'm very thankful that I have that back and I'm very hopeful for the future," Shadden said.

Doctors say one important sign that your back pain needs medical attention is if you feel a tingling sensation of numbness going down your leg.