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Chronic Illn. 2011 Dec;7(4):311-20. doi: 10.1177/1742395311420611. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

High burden of musculoskeletal conditions: a problem that has only recently come to recognition.

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Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.



Musculoskeletal conditions have only recently been acknowledged and research on their burden is scarce in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. For the first time, a population based study was conducted in Lebanon to assess the prevalence, level of disability, and health seeking behaviours related to musculoskeletal pain and rheumatic disorders.


A random sample of 500 participants aged ≥ 15 years from Southern Lebanon was interviewed using the COPCORD (Community Oriented Program for Control of Rheumatic Diseases) questionnaire.


The prevalence of current musculoskeletal pain was 31.2% [CI (27.0-35.2%)]. Being a female [OR=1.8, CI (1.2-2.8)] and of advancing age [OR=1.03, CI (1.01-1.05)] were the only significant factors associated with current musculoskeletal pain. Prevalence of current functional disability was 6.4% [CI (4.2-8.5%)]. Around quarter (26.0%) [CI (22.3-30.1%)] of our sample sought some kind of treatment. The overall prevalence rate of rheumatic disease was 17.0% [CI (13.7-20.3%)].


Our findings indicate that musculoskeletal conditions are common in Lebanon. This is a timely public health issue that needs further investigation and solid recognition by health authorities. Community-based interventions should target patients to prompt them to seek early help in order to prevent the development of musculoskeletal pain into disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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