Back pain affects one in six Australians and costs our healthcare system $4.8bn per year. It is the leading cause of lost work productivity and early retirement in Australia and is a substantial burden for primary care.
Back problems are the second most common reason Australians visit their GP and one of the top five reasons people present to emergency departments.
The Low Back Pain Clinical Care Standard has been developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) with a focus on early management.
The standard provides practitioners with a road map to help patients manage low back pain episodes early and reduce their chance of ongoing problems. It aims to improve the assessment, management and appropriate referral of people with low back pain and reduce the use of unnecessary and ineffective treatments and investigations.
Comprising eight evidence-based quality statements describing best practice care, the standard emphasises the importance of addressing physical and psychosocial barriers to recovery for people with low back pain, providing patient education and advice, and promoting active self-management and physical activity. It highlights the limited role of imaging, bed rest, pain medicines and surgery in managing most people presenting to primary care with low back pain.
To learn more about the standard, and access resources including a series of brief educational videos for clinicians, fact sheets for consumers and clinicians, and a brief educational module for GPs developed in partnership with the RACGP, go to safetyandquality.gov.au/lowbackpain-ccs.