Study finds low back pain is No. 1 ergo issue worldwide

Sydney – Low back pain is the leading cause of ergonomics-related worker disability, according to a new study from the University of Sydney.

Using data from the Global Burden of Disease study, researchers estimated the prevalence of low back pain from ergonomic exposure in 187 different countries in 1990 and 2010. They concluded that, worldwide, low back pain was responsible for 21.7 million disability-adjusted life years – years of healthy life lost – and affected approximately 26 percent of the population in 2010.

From 1990 to 2010, the amount of DALYs increased 22 percent, but that was due to population growth. Rates actually decreased during that time period, researchers found.

The risk for low back pain was highest in agriculture, and the largest number of DALYs occurred in East Asia and South Asia.

The study was published online March 24 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.