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 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 2014–15:
The top 3 causes for back problem hospitalisations were:
Source: AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database (Data table).
In the 10 years from 2005–06 to 2014–15, the age-standardised hospitalisation rate for back problems among Australians increased from 421 per 100,000 to 499 per 100,000. The hospitalisation rate increased similarly for males and females during this period.
Note: Rates are age-standardised to the Australian Population as at 30 June 2001.
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