Low Back Pain Tops World’s Disability List

Bad Back Treatment | Rozelle OsteopathsLow back pain is the cause of more disability worldwide than any other condition, Australian led research shows. The analysis of 117 studies from 47 countries also revealed that almost 1 in 10 people across the globe have experienced low back pain. It showed that men were more likely than women to have low back pain and rates varied by geographic area.

Prevalence was highest in Western Europe where average rates of back pain were around 15 percent. Lowest rates were seen in the Caribbean and Central Latin America at 6.5 and 6.6 percent respectively, according to the study co-authored by rheumatologists Lyn arch from the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney and Peter Brooks from University of Melbourne.

Prevalence peaked in older age groups resulting in regions with higher life expectancy ranking higher for burden of disease. “With ageing populations  throughout the world, but especially in low and middle income countries, the number of people living with with LBP will increase substantially over coming decades,” the study authors wrote in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Lead author Dr Damian Hoy, a researcher at the University of Queensland, said lower back pain was a huge issue and the latest findings confirms the evidence that global agencies have previously not acknowledged. In a second study published in the same journal researchers from the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney found that low back pain was the cause of about one-third of all work-based disability.


Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2014; online