Effects of culture on back pain in Australian aboriginals

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1996 Apr 1;21(7):841-3. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199604010-00013.


Study design: A cross-sectional survey was conducted.

Objectives: To describe the occurrence of back pain and associated behaviors and disabilities in a semitraditional Australian aboriginal community.

Summary of background data: There are few studies of back pain in isolated and nonindustrial societies.

Methods: The authors lived with, observed, and interviewed most adult members of a small aboriginal community and placed information about spinal pain in context of aboriginal beliefs and practices.

Results: Nearly half the adults in this community experienced long-term private spinal pain, but because of their cultural beliefs, did not commonly make this pain public.

Conclusions: Cultural beliefs and practices influence how people respond to back pain in themselves and in others, including how and whether they present to health professionals or seek involvement of others.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Australia
  • Back Pain / ethnology*
  • Back Pain / psychology*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*
  • Pain Measurement / psychology
  • Pain Measurement / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socialization