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Lower Back Pain – a Cause of Work-Related Disability Around the World

A study from the University of Sydney finds that lower back pain (LBP) is a significant cause of work-related disability all over the world. LBP affected 26% of the global population in 2010, and varied considerably with age, gender and region.

Researchers’ goal was to measure the burden arising from LBP due to occupational exposure and risk factors. They took a look at 21 regions and 187 individual countries. The work-related burden was estimated as disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).

The researchers found that the highest risk for LBP is in the agricultural industry. They found that 62% of

LBP DALYs were in males – the largest numbers were in those ages 35-55. The researchers also

discovered that LBP arising from ergonomic exposure at work caused approximately 21.7 million DALYs

in 2010. There was a 22% increase in overall LBP DALYs arising from occupations exposure between

1990 and 2010 due to population growth.

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