Background: To report the national prevalence, years lived with disability (YLDs) and attributable risk factors for all musculoskeletal conditions and separately for low back pain (LBP), as well as compare the disability burden related to musculoskeletal with other health conditions in Australia in 2019.
Methods: Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2019 study meta-data on all musculoskeletal conditions and LBP specifically were accessed and aggregated. Counts and age-standardised rates, for both sexes and across all ages, for prevalence, YLDs and attributable risk factors are reported.
Results: In 2019, musculoskeletal conditions were estimated to be the leading cause of YLDs in Australia (20.1%). There were 7,219,894.5 (95% UI: 6,847,113–7,616,567) prevalent cases of musculoskeletal conditions and 685,363 (95% UI: 487,722–921,471) YLDs due to musculoskeletal conditions. There were 2,676,192 (95% UI: 2,339,327–3,061,066) prevalent cases of LBP and 298,624 (95% UI: 209,364–402,395) YLDs due to LBP. LBP was attributed to 44% of YLDs due to musculoskeletal conditions. In 2019, 22.3% and 39.8% of YLDs due to musculoskeletal conditions and LBP, respectively, were attributed to modifiable GBD risk factors.
Conclusions: The ongoing high burden due to musculoskeletal conditions impacts Australians across the life course, and in particular females and older Australians. Strategies for integrative and organisational interventions in the Australian healthcare system should support high-value care and address key modifiable risk factors for disability such as smoking, occupational ergonomic factors and obesity.
Author keywords: Musculoskeletal - Low back pain - Disease burden - Burden - Health policy
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