Low back pain is on the rise and causes more global disability than any other condition, according to two studies from Australia.
The number of disability-adjusted life years (DALYS) due to low back pain increased from 58.2 million (95% CI 39.9 million-78.1 million) in 1990 to 83 million (95% CI 56.6 million-111.9 million) in 2010, wrote Damian Hoy, PhD, of the University of Queensland, and colleagues in the Annals of the Rheumatic Disease.
“The global point prevalence of [low back pain] was 9.4% (95% CI 9.0-9.8),” they said.
Prevalence was higher in men (mean 10.1%, 95% CI 9.4%-10.7%) compared with women (mean 8.7%, 95% CI 8.2%-9.3%). Both prevalence and burden of disease increased with age, with peak prevalence “at around 80 years of age,” the authors wrote.
In a second study appearing in the same issue of the journal, other researchers looked specifically at the global burden of low back pain as a result of exposure to occupational ergonomic risk factors. They estimated that worldwide ergonomic work exposures were responsible for 21.7 million DALYS in 2010.
“Bottom line — the human cost globally is much higher than previously estimated,” James McDeavitt, MD, chair of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told MedPage Today.
High Worldwide Prevalence
The analysis by Hoy’s group was part of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 study. Out of 291 conditions evaluated, low back pain ranked highest in terms of years lived with disability and sixth in DALYS, the authors said.
They reviewed 117 studies and 780 estimates of burden of disease for low back pain, including data from 85 countries, and 20 of 21 world regions covered by the GBD study. The majority of studies used in the analysis included both men and women, a broad age range, and urban and rural populations.
In the GBD 2010 study, low back pain was deﬁned as “pain in the area on the posterior aspect of the body from the lower margin of the 12th ribs to the lower gluteal folds with or without pain referred into one or both lower limbs that lasts for at least 1 day.”
Source: www.medpagetoday.com; Elizabeth DeVita Raeburn; March 25, 2014.