Rafał Michalik, Małgorzata Kowalska, Przemysław Kotyla, Aleksander J. Owczarek


Introduction: Back pain is one of the most frequently diagnosed diseases of the osteoarticular system. It has been estimated that 50–80% of the population has experienced at least one episode of back pain. The aim of the study was to present the epidemiology data on back pain in Poland based on secondary epidemiological data collected in national and international databases.

Materials and methods: The study was based on the data provided by the National Institute of Health under the framework of the National Hospital Morbidity Research, and the data collected in the Eurostat database.

Results: Currently, the highest prevalence rates of hospital admission due to back pain are found in the oldest women (over 65 years) and slightly younger men (between 55 and 64 years of age). In the group of people older than 45 years the incidence of pain episodes increases to about threefold compared to younger people. Moreover, it is noted that the higher number of hospitalizations due to low back pain syndrome concerns rural residents. The analysis of the Eurostat data indicates a large variation in rates of hospitalization due to lower back pain and a slightly different course of disease in other countries. In Poland, for both women and men, there has been a steady increase in the number of patients hospitalized due to lower back pain.

Conclusions: The hospitalization rate due to back pain in Poland is one of the lowest in Europe, but the observed increase in the number of hospitalized patients in recent years has created a significant economic burden in the healthcare system. It is worth noting that an average length of hospitalization of patients with lower back pain is slightly longer in Poland (on average 4 days longer) than in Western European countries.


lower back pain syndrome; M54 ICD-10

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