Disability burden due to musculoskeletal conditions and low back pain in Australia: findings from GBD 2019

Katie de Luca, Andrew M. Briggs, Simon D. French, Manuela L. Ferreira, Marita Cross, Fiona Blyth, Lyn March

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalChiropractic & manual therapies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Australia/epidemiology
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Global Burden of Disease
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases/epidemiology
  • Low back pain
  • Burden
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Disease burden
  • Health policy


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