Media Release – A novel approach to break the cycle of low back pain
On 1 September 2022, the Commission released the first national Low Back Pain Clinical Care Standard to improve early management of patients with this common condition, which is a leading cause of disability worldwide.
The standard advocates a shift towards active approaches to support people with low back pain and reduce their chance of ongoing problems.
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Australia’s first national care standard for low back pain is good news for the millions of people with this common health condition, with the health sector agreeing it’s time for change.
The Low Back Pain Clinical Care Standard, released today by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission), advocates a shift towards active approaches to support the one in six Australians with low back pain.
The use of imaging tests, bed rest, pain medicines and surgery are now accepted as having a limited role in managing most people with low back pain. Current evidence shows an active approach is more effective and less risky for patients.
Low back pain can cause considerable distress and is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Back pain costs the Australian health system $4.8 billion each year, and is the top reason for lost work productivity and early retirement.
The new standard provides a road map for healthcare practitioners to help patients manage low back pain episodes early and reduce their chance of ongoing problems.
Recommendations include self-management and physical activity, addressing psychological barriers to recovery such as thoughts and emotions about pain, as well as tackling social obstacles, including work and home stress.