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J Prim Care Community Health. 2013 Jul 1;4(3):220-7. doi: 10.1177/2150131913479385. Epub 2013 Feb 19.

An epidemiologic analysis of low back pain in primary care: a hot humid country and global comparison.

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Department of Medical Statistics & Epidemiology, Hamad Medical Corporation & Department of Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College, Doha, Qatar.



Low back pain is one of the most common conditions for which patients seek medical care.


The aim of the study was to study the epidemiology of low back pain in primary care setting with emphasis on frequency, sociodemographic factors, and impact of low back pain on lifestyle habits.


This is a cross-sectional study. A representative sample of 2742 patients was approached and 2180 subjects agreed to participate in this study (79.5%). The survey was conducted among primary health care visitors during the period from March to October 2012. The questionnaire collected the sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle habits, and type of treatment taken for relief from recruited subjects.


Of the subjects studied, 52.9% were males and 47.1% were females. The prevalence of low back pain in the study sample was 59.2%. Low back pain was more prevalent among women (67.7%) than among men (51.6%). The proportion of low back pain was highest in the age-group 45 to 55 years in both the genders (37.6% and 36.4%, respectively). Nearly half of the men (45.7%) and women (45.2%) with low back pain were overweight with a significant difference (P < .001). More than half of the women with low back pain were housewives (50.4%), whereas most of the men had clerical jobs (36.8%). There was a significant difference observed between men and women in terms of nationality (P < .001), body mass index (P < .001), and occupation (P < .001). Prolonged standing (41.2% vs 29.5%; P < .001) and use of sponge mattress (50.9% vs 45.8%; P .041) was significantly higher among male patients with low back pain compared with females. Coughing/sneezing/straining (9.7% vs 5.9%; P = .01) were more frequent triggering factors in male patients with low back pain as compared with females.


The study findings revealed that the prevalence of low back pain was higher among women than among men. Low back pain was observed more frequently among older people and among those who were overweight.


epidemiology; lifestyle habits; low back pain; primary health care; risk factors

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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