Estimating global need for rehabilitation using data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019


  • One in three people worldwide would benefit from rehabilitation for a disabling illness or injury, countering the common assumption that rehabilitation is only needed by a minority. Musculoskeletal conditions – particularly, low back pain – accounted for around one-third of the rehabilitation need.

Why this matters

  • As the global population ages, there is an increasing prevalence of non-communicable disease and increasing number of people living with sequelae of injury and disease.

  • Rehabilitation is a cost-effective intervention that can improve functional outcomes and prevent future hospitalization and reduce length of hospital stay, as well as supporting people’s independence and ability to remain in education or employment.

  • However, rehabilitation is not perceived as a priority and is under-resourced around the world.