Middle-aged man being examined by a female doctor in a doctor's office. Patient complains to the doctor of kidney pain.

(HealthDay News) — Overall, 619 million people were affected by low back pain globally in 2020, and the number of prevalent cases is projected to continue increasing, according to a review published in the June issue of The Lancet Rheumatology.

Manuela L. Ferreira, PhD, from Sydney Musculoskeletal Health at the University of Sydney, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to estimate the prevalence and years lived with disability (YLDs) for low back pain for 204 countries and territories from 1990 to 2020. Low back pain was defined as pain between the 12th ribs and gluteal folds, which lasted at least one day. By running a regression on prevalence rates, prevalence was projected to 2050.

The researchers found that low back pain affected 619 million people globally in 2020; by 2050, 843 million prevalent cases were projected. The global age-standardized rate of YLDs was 832 per 100,000 in 2020. Age-standardized rates of prevalence and YLDs decreased by 10.4 and 10.5%, respectively, between 1990 and 2020. Overall, occupational factors, smoking, and high body mass index accounted for 38.8% of YLDs.

“Our results highlight the urgent need for more and high-quality primary country-level data on both prevalence and severity distributions to improve accuracy and monitor change as health policy and high-value care are implemented,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to industry.

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