Fact sheet


Back problems are a range of conditions related to the bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles and nerves of the back. These conditions can affect the neck (cervical spine),upper back (thoracic spine) and lower back (lumbar spine) as well as the sacrum and tailbone (coccyx). Back problems include:

• pain in the neck, lower, middle and upper back

• pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the legs starting from the lower back

• narrowing of the spine canal through which the spinal cord passes

• degeneration of the disc and spinal joints

• pressure on the spinal nerve attached to the spinal cord.

Based on self-reported data from the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey (2011–12), about 3 million Australians (13.6%) reported having back problems, similar for men (13.8%) and women (12.8%). This includes back pain/problems not elsewhere classified, disc disorders and sciatica and curvature of the spine.

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