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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
Back problems describes a range of conditions related to the bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles and nerves of the back. These conditions can affect the neck (cervical spine), upper back (thoracic spine) and lower back (lumbar spine) as well as the sacrum and tailbone (coccyx).
Back problems include:
Back problems can have many causes, relating to issues associated with posture and injuries, diseases such as osteoarthritis, disc disease, osteoporosis, and some genetic conditions. Other factors may increase the risk of developing back problems, such as age, physical fitness, smoking, being overweight, and the type of work a person does . Recently, studies show that back problems can have a significant genetic component .
Back problems are common conditions. Estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014–15 National Health Survey show about 3.7 million Australians (16% of the population) have back problems. It is estimated that 70–90% of people will suffer from lower back pain in some form at some point in their lives.
Pain is the main symptom in most back problems. It is a common reason for pain among younger and middle-aged adults, but can start in childhood . One study of people with long term back problems reported 14% experience constant or persistent pain, and 86% experience pain one day per week .
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