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Low back pain in Australian adults. Prevalence and associated disability

Walker, B.F., Muller, R. and Grant, W.D. (2004) Low back pain in Australian adults. Prevalence and associated disability. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 27 (4). pp. 238-244.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2004.02.002
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Abstract

Objectives
To determine the prevalence ranges of low back pain (LBP) together with any related disability in Australian adults.

Design
A population-based survey.

Methods
The survey was mailed in June 2001 to a stratified random sample of 3000 Australian adults selected from the Electoral Roll. Demographic variables of respondents were compared with the Australian population. Selective response bias was investigated using wave analysis. A range of prevalence data was derived, as were disability scores using the Chronic Pain Grade.

Results
There was a 69% response rate. There was little variation between the sample and the Australian adult population. There was no significant selective response bias found. The sample point prevalence was estimated at 25.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 23.6-27.5), 12-month prevalence was 67.6% (95% CI, 65.5-69.7), and lifetime prevalence was 79.2%, (95% CI, 77.3-81.0). In the previous 6-month period, 42.6% (95% CI, 40.4-44.8) of the adult population had experienced low-intensity pain and low disability from it. Another 10.9% (95% CI, 9.6-12.3) had experienced high intensity-pain but still low disability from this pain. However, 10.5% (95% CI, 9.2-11.9) had experienced high-disability LBP.

Conclusion
LBP is a common problem in the Australian adult population, yet most of this is low-intensity and low-disability pain. Nevertheless, over 10% had been significantly disabled by LBP in the past 6 months. Data from this study will provide a better understanding of the magnitude of the LBP problem in Australia, the need for access to health care resources, and also strategic research directions.

Keywords
• Low Back Pain;
• Prevalence;
• Incidence;
• Disability;
• Epidemiology

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Mosby Inc.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/11513
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