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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.
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
1 in 6 Australians (16%) reported back problems in 2014–15. That’s 3.7 million people
Back problems can be managed in a variety of ways including pain management, rehabilitation, patient education and surgery.
Spinal surgery is usually the last resort in the treatment of back problems. It may include:
Data from the AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD) show that in 2015–16:
The top 3 main reasons for back problem hospitalisations were:
Source: AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database (Data table).
In the 10 years from 2006–07 to 2015–16, the age-standardised acute care hospitalisation rate for back problems among Australians increased slightly from 621 per 100,000 to 722 per 100,000 (Figure 2). Over the same period, the hospitalisation rate for sub-acute and non-acute care for back problems increased nearly 3 times, from 73 per 100,000 to 218 per 100,000.
Note: Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian population.
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