Lower Back Pain

A new study from the University of Sydney found that lower back pain is a huge cause of work-related disability. It affected 26% of the world population in 2010.

Researchers studied the burden that arises from lower back pain due to occupational exposure and ergonomic risk factors. They analyzed 21 regions of the world and 187 different countries.

Here is a look at what they found:

  • The highest risk for lower back pain is in the agricultural sector.
  • 62% of lower back pain was in males who were between the ages of 35 and 55.
  • Lower back pain that arose from ergonomic exposures at work was estimated to cause more than 21 million disability-adjusted life years. (DALYs)
  • The largest number of DALYs occurred in East Asia and South Asia.
  • There was a 22% increase in overall lower back pain DALYs arising from occupational exposures between 1990 and 2010 due to population growth.

In conclusion, researchers said there is a need for improved information on exposure distributions and relative risks, particularly in developing countries.

Ergonomic factors linked to low back pain are lifting, forceful movement, awkward positions and vibration.

You can take a look at OSHAcademy course 711 Introduction to Ergonomics. It provides useful information to reduce ergonomic injuries, including back pain, in the workplace.