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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
Analgesics (or painkillers) are commonly used to manage back pain. Analgesics include paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioid analgesics.
In the US, the UK and Australia, the clinical practice guidelines for management of low back pain recommend regular use of paracetamol as the first choice. However, recent evidence suggests paracetamol may not be effective for treating acute low back pain . When paracetamol provides insufficient pain relief, regular use of NSAIDs is recommended. The Australian guidelines note that oral opioids may be necessary to relieve severe back pain.
The most common medications prescribed for back problems managed by GPs include:
Diazepam was also prescribed in the management of back problems by GPs. This medication belongs in the class of medications known as 'anxiolytics', which are often used in the clinical management of anxiety.
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