Surgical management of chronic low back pain

Surgical management of chronic low back pain

Back pain affects 13% of the Australian community on any given day, with 70% to 90% of Australians suffering from back pain at least once during their lifetime.

Chronic back pain is defined as back pain lasting for more than three months.

According to recent US data, low back pain is the leading cause of musculoskeletal pain, affecting 28.6% of the population. By comparison, neck pain affects 15.2%.

In recent years, two factors have caused uncertainty for GPs managing low back pain:

  • Alarmist media reports questioning the validity of elective surgery for degenerative conditions of the spine;
  • While able to rule out pathological causes quickly, radiologists’ reports featuring words such as “disc desiccation, degeneration, annular tears, compression and bulges” can be hard to interpret and can become a source of catastrophisation for people with pain hoping to pinpoint a cause.

Back pain affects 13% of the Australian community on any given day, with 70% to 90% of Australians suffering from back pain at least once during their lifetime.

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