Surgical management of low back pain

Jennifer Saunders, Mel Cusi and Hans Van der Wall
Med J Aust 2016; 205 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00555
Published online: 3 October 2016

Atkinson and Zacest1 stated that chronic low back pain is reaching epidemic proportions for a variety of medical, psychosocial and work-related problems. The direct and indirect economic cost in Australia has been modelled at $9.17 billion.2 The provision of surgery for non-specific low back pain (NSLBP) has the potential to significantly increase these costs, particularly under the economic cloak of “work cover”. A review of chronic low back pain pointed out that only 15% of cases may be due to significant intervertebral disc prolapse with neural compromise.3 The remaining cases were placed under the umbrella of NSLBP, which is a negative description of the failure to reach a diagnosis.

  • Jennifer Saunders1
  • Mel Cusi1
  • Hans Van der Wall2

  • 1 University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 Concord Nuclear Imaging, Sydney, NSW


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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