Lower back pain continues to be mistreated in UK
Lower back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting around 540 million people at any one time. But the condition is often mistreated, against best practice treatment guidelines, says evidence in The Lancet.
In the UK, low back pain was the top cause of years lived with disability in both 1990 and 2010, with a 12% increase over this time, so the problem is getting worse. Low back pain:
- Accounts for 11% of the entire disability burden from all diseases in the UK;
- Cost the NHS £2.1 billion in 2008;
- Cost UK society £10.7 billion in 2008 (factoring in work loss and informal care).
“We need to redirect funding away from ineffective or harmful tests and treatments and towards approaches that promote physical activity and function,” says Prof Nadine Foster, one of the lead authors. “We also need to intensify further research of promising new approaches such as redesigning patient pathways of care and interventions that support people to function and stay at work.”
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