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Back problems are a range of conditions related to the bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles and nerves of the back. Back problems are a significant cause of disability and lost productivity.
1 in 6 Australians (16%) reported back problems in 2014–15. That’s 3.7 million people
3rd leading cause of disease burden in Australia in 2011
4 in 5 people with disability and back problems had difficulty with mobility, communication or self-care in 2012
People with back problems often have other chronic diseases and long-term conditions. These are referred to as 'comorbidities'—two or more health problems occurring at the same time.
In this context, 'back problems' include:
Note: if back problems are caused by another condition such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis they will be classified as that condition and not included here. As such, the true prevalence of back problems presented here may be an underestimate.
The comorbid chronic conditions selected for this analysis include arthritis, cardiovascular disease, mental health problems, asthma, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer. These chronic conditions were selected because they occur frequently in the population.
The risk factors are smoking, physical inactivity, and overweight and obesity.
This information is based on self-reported data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2014–15 National Health Survey (NHS), and was last updated in June 2016.
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