Cases of low back pain may rise by more than 1/3 by 2050 – 05/22/2023 – Equilíbrio e Saúde

The number of people around the world who suffer from low back pain, also known as dor in the lumbarcould reach 843 million in 2050. The estimate, if it is actually achieved in the coming years, represents a jump of more than a third of the cases registered in 2020, when the number of people affected by the complication was 619 million.

The projection, made in article published this Monday (22) in The Lancet Rheumatologyindicates that it is necessary to pay more attention to low back pain, says Wang Yuan Pang, assistant physician at the Institute of Psychiatry at the Hospital das Clínicas at USP and collaborator of the research group that conducted the study.

“[O aumento projetado] is a lot and means that governments and health professionals need to focus efforts on this Type of problem“, he stated.

The group of authors used data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD), a program formed by scientists from around the world with information on mortality and disability related to diseases. In addition to the GBD, other sources composed the research: previously published articles and government reports are examples.

In addition to projecting an increase in cases of dor in the lumbar Using statistical tools, the article draws attention to the fact that the complication is the main cause of years lived with disability. The concept concerns the period in which someone lives with a disability that causes a less than ideal picture of a healthy individual.

The seriousness and impact of pain caused by low back pain are reiterated by Wang. “It’s not something like ‘look, I’m in pain and I’ll take it, I’ll try to work’. People can’t even leave the house.”

Treatment costs are also high. Wang explains that, in addition to stopping work, the person with low back pain needs to pay for expenses, such as painkillers, physiotherapy and doctors. Sometimes, the weakened individual even demands that someone stop working to help him.

The impact is also economic. In Brazil, for example, the estimate indicated in the study is that, each year, one hundred working days are lost per inhabitant due to the dor in the lumbar.

Even with the high number of days lost in Brazil, Latin America, the region where the country is located, does not have the highest rates of low back pain and will not have the most vertiginous growth until 2050. Africa which may have the biggest increases in the coming years according to the projection.

“Although Brazil does not have the highest rates of low back pain, its impact, of one hundred days, is almost a third of the year in which the person is out of work”, points out Wang.


O onset of severe back pain involves several factors. In the article, the authors write that population growth is a key aspect that explains the projection for 2050. “Except in some regions where population aging seems to be the main reason for the increase in the number of cases”, they complete.

Wang also explains that low back pain has a strong association with bad habits. An example is working for a long time without following proper ergonomics. “During the quarantine, there were a lot of people who stayed in front of the computer for a long time, often inappropriately. This makes it worse.”

On the other hand, someone who does physical activity is on the opposite pole: the person has a more elongated body and has a more adequate biomechanics that helps in the prevention of low back pain.

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