An analysis based on more than 30 years of data shows that the number of low back pain cases worldwide is increasing. Models show that by 2050, 843 million people will be affected by the disease due to population growth and population aging. A related paper was recently published in The Lancet-Rheumatology.
Researchers worry that because low back pain is the world’s leading cause of disability, the lack of consistent treatments will lead to a medical crisis.
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“Our analysis paints a picture of the increasing number of low back pain cases worldwide, which is putting enormous pressure on healthcare systems. We need to establish a national, coherent programme to manage low back pain. Lead author Manuela Ferreira, a professor at the Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Colin Institute in Sydney, Australia, said, “However, at present, people’s response to low back pain is passive. ”
This study revealed several facts about low back pain. Since 2017, the number of low back pain cases has increased to more than 500 million. In 2020, there were approximately 619 million cases of low back pain. At least one-third of the disability burden associated with low back pain can be attributed to occupational, smoking, and overweight factors.
A common misconception is that low back pain mainly affects working-age adults. But the researchers say the study has confirmed that low back pain is more common in older people, and that women also have higher cases of low back pain than men.
“Most of the available data comes from high-income countries, and we urgently need more population-based data on low back pain and musculoskeletal from low- and middle-income countries.” Lead author Lyn March, a professor at the Sydney Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and the Colin Institute, said.
Nevertheless, this is the most comprehensive and up-to-date data available, including for the first time global projections and the impact of global burden of disease (GBD) risk factors on low back pain. It is also the first study to simulate a future epidemic of low back pain cases.
The study analyzed GBD data from 204 countries and regions from 1990 to 2020 to map the distribution of low back pain cases over time. The study notes that the situation will change in low back pain cases, with the largest increases in Asia and Africa. In Australia, cases will increase by almost 50% by 2050.
Anthony Woolf, co-chair of the Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health, said: “We need to do more to prevent low back pain and ensure patients receive timely care. ”
Ferreira said there is still a lack of consistency in how medical professionals manage low back pain cases and how the healthcare system adapts to the increase in low back pain cases.
“Current clinical guidelines on the treatment and management of low back pain do not provide specific recommendations for older adults. Opioids used to treat low back pain may negatively affect their physical function and quality of life. He explained.
“Health systems cannot continue to ignore the high prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders, including low back pain. Now is the time to understand effective strategies to deal with this heavy burden and take action. Dr Alarcos Cieza of the World Health Organization said. (Source: Wang Fang, China Science News)
Related paper information:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2665-9913(23)00098-X