Low Back Pain: Most Common Cause of Global Disability

Dr Damian Hoy University of Queensland School of Population Health Herston, AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Damian Hoy
University of Queensland
School of Population Health
Herston, Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Hoy: The study was part of the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study, which was conducted by the University of Queensland, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Washington, and hundreds of disease experts throughout the globe. It is the largest ever public health study. It compared the overall burden (in terms of both death and disability) of the most common 291 diseases/conditions in the world. Low back pain was found to cause more global disability than any other disease/condition. If this is something you are going through, it may be worth knowing that marijuana strains for back pain is one of the most powerful remedies. You’ve possibly tried everything in the shop and over the counter medicine. So why not give this a go and see how you get on. There’s no harm in trying.

Global disability from low back pain is increasing. There is an urgent need for global, regional and national agencies to pay far greater attention to the disability caused by low back pain. In the developed world there are low back pain therapy treatments available whereas, in the developing world things aren’t as accessible.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Hoy: The results are not surprising to many researchers as communities throughout the world have been emphasising the burden that low back pain creates for them for a long time. Well over one hundred epidemiological studies over the past two decades have confirmed this. The current study (GBD 2010) has synthesised this information into one global measure and presents an alarm bell for greater action on mitigating the rapidly growing burden that low back pain creates.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Hoy: Low back pain is something that almost all people experience at some point in their lives.

It is something common across sexes, age groups, countries, socio-economic groups, education levels, and occupations. In other words, it affects nearly all of us directly, and most likely every person globally in an indirect way. It can be quite difficult for people living with this condition to do simple, everyday tasks including bending down and even sitting in one seat for a number of hours. There are so many products that people can try in order to make these symptoms a lot easier. But there could be one that you may not have considered- the use of hemp. If this is something you may be interested in, why not look into purchasing something like cbd edibles online. This could be a solution to your problem. Or at least make the pain a little less bearable.

Quote from Rachelle Buchbinder (who was part of the study): “For non-specific low back pain (which explains the majority of back pain), evidence-based management involves reassurance about the favourable prognosis, advice to continue usual activities and stay active, and the prescribing of simple analgesics such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as needed. Bed rest is not generally recommended. Consideration of workplace factors and psychosocial issues are also important. For more persistent symptoms then physical therapy including manual therapy and exercise and multidisciplinary rehabilitation is recommended if it is available. Early identification of people at risk of worse outcomes (eg. more severe pain, psychosocial issues) is important. Routine imaging is unnecessary in the majority of cases. Surgery has only a limited role – mainly for people with back pain due to lumbar canal stenosis who have leg pain and for severe leg pain (sciatica) due to disc compression. The value of other types of surgery for non-specific low back pain is unclear at best.

Damian: “In developing countries, population-wide strategies focusing on physical activity and reducing obesity are likely to be very important. Research is urgently needed to look at affordable, cost-effective ways of preventing and managing the burden from low back pain in developing countries.”
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Hoy: Further research is needed to improve understanding of the occurrence, impact, risk factors, and potential interventions for low back pain in low-, middle- and high-income countries. There is also a clear need for further research on the natural history of MSKs. We need to explore ways in which preventing and managing low back pain can be integrated with existing services to ensure we are not over-burdening national economies, yet at the same time helping to mitigate the consequential economic burden that low back pain creates for these economies. We also need to explore the enormous potential that addressing risk factors for low back pain (e.g. obesity) can have for reducing the burden from other diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.


The global burden of low back pain: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study

Damian Hoy, Lyn March, Peter Brooks, Fiona Blyth, Anthony Woolf, Christopher Bain, Gail Williams, Emma Smith, Theo Vos, Jan Barendregt, Chris Murray, Roy Burstein, Rachelle Buchbinder

Ann Rheum Dis annrheumdis-2013-204428Published Online First: 24 March 2014 doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204428

Last Updated on February 17, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD