Nearly 80 percent of the population have had, or will experience lower back pain, making it the most commonly suffered pain condition and the third most common long-term condition.
Researchers, Dr Paulo Ferreira and Marina de Barros Pinheira, from the University of Sydney have undertaken studies with Twins Research Australia to better understand the types of physical activities that cause and protect low back pain as well as whether treatments aimed at increasing sleep quality are able to help people with back pain.
Dr Ferreira reports that low back pain is the most disabling condition worldwide in terms of number of years lived with disability and “it significantly affects people’s lives and adds a lot of suffering and burden”. Moreover it costs $4 billion annually in direct and indirect costs.
With an increasing number of people leading more sedentary lifestyles in demanding and stressful occupations, and a growing lack of opportunities for social interaction and support, the incidence of low back pain looks set to soar.
His team has studied twins (18 years old or older) who have and who have not suffered back pain in order to identify what factors are involved in this condition.
Dr Ferreira argues that twins are ideally suited for such a project “because they allow us to investigate the contribution of familial factors in the development of back pain and the response of people to treatment approaches”.