AIHW Board AIHW senior staff Annual report Capability statement Collaboration AIHW corporate plan 2016–17 to 2019–20 Customer care charter FOI - freedom of information Indexed list of files Nous review Organisation chart Presentations Privacy of data Public Interest Disclosure Tenders
By category Ageing, disability & carers Families & children Hospitals Housing & homelessness Indigenous Australians Population groups Risk factors, diseases & death Services, workforce & spending
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases
Chronic kidney disease Chronic respiratory conditions COPD Deaths Dementia Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition Health indicators Health performance Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Injury Life expectancy
Male health Mental health Mothers & babies Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Primary health care Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Data Publications Contact AIHW
Publications CatalogueOrdering publicationsForthcoming publications Online reports Subscribe to release notices
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs AIHW annual reports Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases Chronic kidney disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Corporate publications Data linkage Data standards Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition General practice Health indicators Health performance Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Indigenous housing
Injury Life expectancy Male health Mental health services Mothers & babies Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Primary health carePrisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Subjects Data Contact AIHW
About AIHW data METeOR—metadata online registry Data by subject AIHW data collections Customised data analysis request Data governance framework Data linking Data standards GovHack Privacy of data Accessing Australian Government health and welfare data
By subjectAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework Adoptions Aged care Alcohol and other drugs Alcohol data sources Body weight data sources Cancer Children's headline indicators (CHI) Child protection Data sources for monitoring health conditionsDeaths Diabetes Disability
Expenditure FHBH - Fixing houses for better health General Record of Incidence of Mortality (GRIM) books Height and weight data sources Hospitals Indigenous Australians International collaboration Maternity Information Matrix (MIM) Medical indemnity Mental health Mortality Over Regions and Time (MORT) books National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse
National core maternity indicators (NCMI) National framework for protecting Australia’s children (NFPAC) National indicator catalogue National Youth Information Framework (NYIF) Perinatal data Primary Health Network (PHN) Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Tobacco data sources Workforce
In other sections Subjects Publications Contact AIHW
AACR ACFADD AHSAC AIHW Board AIHW Ethics Committee AODTS NMDS WG CKDMAC CMAG CVDMAC HEAC
IGIHM JJ RIG MHISSC NAGATSIHID NCSIMG NDDWG NDIMG NHISSC NIAG NIRAPIMG NMDDNMDS
NMHPSC NOPSAD NPDDC NPHEP NPHIC PCDWG PDWG PHIDG PHIG REDWG Workforce committees
Education worksheets Infographics What's in the pipeline Subscribe to education notices Other educational links
Resources by subject All Latest Ageing Australia's health Australia's welfare Carers
Children & youth Disability Disease Drugs
Health Health prevention Indigenous Australians Injury
In other sections Subjects Data Publications Contact AIHW
Job vacancies How to apply for a position at the AIHW Conditions of employment Benefits of working for the AIHW Temporary employment register Occupational Training Program Contact the People Unit Graduates
AIHW Access magazine Media releases Subscribe to release notices Embargoed access to AIHW material Media contacts
You are here:
An estimated 3.7 million Australians had chronic back problems in 2014–15, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Impacts of chronic back problems, explains the impact on an individual's quality of life, as well as the impact on the community in terms of economic and disease burden.
Chronic back problems are defined as long-term (6 months or more) health conditions and include disc disorders (such as a herniated disc or disc degeneration); sciatica and curvature of the spine; and pain not caused by another condition such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis.
People with chronic back problems are more likely to report a poorer quality of life than those in the general population, with similar rates for men and women.
'People with back problems are around 2 times as likely to say they have poor health, high levels of psychological distress and severe bodily pain, compared with the general population,' said AIHW spokesperson Ann Hunt.
In 2014–15, around 9% of people with back problems perceived their health as poor, compared to just over 4% in the general population.
'Almost 7% experienced very high levels of psychological distress, and 4% experienced very severe bodily pain. This is compared with 4% and 1.5%, respectively, in the general population,' Ms Hunt said.
The report also shows that 28% of people with a disability (around 1.2 million people) also had a chronic back problem.
'Among people with a disability, those suffering from chronic back problems were more likely than those without to report limitations and restrictions in relation to mobility, self-care, employment and social participation,' Ms Hunt said.
'Among people with both a disability and a chronic back problem, 43% experienced limitations related to mobility, 28% experienced limitations related to self-care, and 77% of those who were working age experienced a restriction in employment.'
Chronic back problems were the third leading cause of disease burden in Australia in 2011, accounting for 3.6% of the total burden across all diseases and injuries. The majority (78%) of people with chronic back problems are aged between 15–64.
Canberra, 16 August 2016
Further information: Ms Ann Hunt, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1238. mob. 0407 915 851
Full publication: Impacts of chronic back problems