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Back pain in New Zealand: key facts

Back pain in New Zealand: key facts

How big is the problem?

Back pain is common: according t
o a recent BRC survey around 70 percent of the adult population has had back pain at some stage in their lives. Medical studies in other countries back this up, suggesting that between 60 and 90 percent of people might be affected by acute low back pain at some stage in their lives.

The good news on back pain according to research

Most back pain goes away quickly.1 And according to the BRC research 70% of people say back pain doesn’t have a noticeable effect on their lives.

Activity is an important part of managing back pain:2
o Staying or becoming physically active is important
o Resuming usual activities, including work, is recommended
o Bed rest can be harmful (the survey revealed 4 out of 10 people have tried bed rest, and 1 in 6 believes it is an effective way to treat back pain)

Guidelines for treating back pain

The New Zealand Acute Low Back Pain Guide outlines current best practice on managing back pain.

It was developed by and for the health profession, with the revised third edition launched earlier this year. The Guide was formulated by an expert panel convened by ACC made up of professional groups from across the health sector.

The New Zealand Acute Low Back Pain Guide is endorsed by the:
o New Zealand Guidelines Group
o New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists
o Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
o New Zealand Register of Osteopaths

The Guide has two simple messages. The first is that back pain is common. The second key message is that staying active is an important part of treatment.

The ACC back pain campaign

ACC has used the information in the New Zealand Acute Low Back Pain Guide to develop a public information campaign, designed to back up the practice being adopted by health professionals, and to help New Zealanders effectively self-manage their back pain.

The public information campaign will deliver information on effective management of low back pain through the following channels:
o Television and print advertising
o Information on ACC’s website on effective management
o Information for the news media
o Material for ACC claimants relating to effective management
o Material for health professionals letting them know about the public information activities

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