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Asian Spine J. 2014 Jun;8(3):227-36. doi: 10.4184/asj.2014.8.3.227. Epub 2014 Jun 9.

Prevalence and correlates of low back pain in primary care: what are the contributing factors in a rapidly developing country.

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Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, Hamad Medical Corporation and Department of Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College, Doha, Qatar. ; Department of Evidence for Population Health Unit, School of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.
Department of Psychiatry, Rumeilah Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar.
Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Clinical Research Rheumatology and Spondyloarthritis Program, Arthritis Centre of Excellence, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada.





The purpose of the study was to determine the prevalence of low back pain (LBP) in the primary care setting with emphasis on the socio-demographic contributing factors and impact of LBP on lifestyle habits.


LBP is one of the most common medical conditions seen in the Primary Health Care Clinic.


A representative sample of 2,600 patients were approached and 1,829 subjects agreed to participate in this study (70.0%). Data on socio-demographic characteristics, life style habits and type of treatment were collected through a questionnaire.


The prevalence of LBP in the study sample was 56.5% (95% confidence interval, 54.2-58.8). LBP was more prevalent among women (53.9%) compared to men (46.1%). There was significant difference between male and female patients of LBP in terms of ethnicity (p<0.001), marital status (p=0.010), occupation (p<0.001), monthly household income (p=0.004), and cigarette/sheesha smokers (p<0.001). The percentages of different aspects of functional disabilities were statistically significantly higher among females compared to male patients with LBP. Almost a quarter of female patients with LBP (26%) and 18% male patients with LBP reported pain in the arms and legs (p=0.002). In addition, gastrointestinal complaints such as abdominal pain and food intolerance were significantly higher among female patients with LBP as compared to males (31% vs. 24.6%, p=0.018; and 25% vs. 18%, p=0.008, respectively). Complaints about headache and fainting were also significantly higher among female patients as compared to male LBP patients (43% vs. 36%, p=0.029; and 26% vs. 20%, p=0.016, respectively). The multivariate logistic regression revealed that being female, prolonged standing, prolonged sitting, heavy weight lifting, weakness in the legs, regular exercise, and cigarette/sheesh a smoking had a significant effect on the presence of LBP.


LBP is highly prevalent among both genders and in older age. Also, weakness in the legs, smoking, prolonged standing and sitting had a significant effect on LBP. Furthermore, the current study findings support the fact that LBP continues to be an important clinical, social and economic, burden and a public health problem affecting the population of the entire world.


Epidemiology; Life-style habits; Low back pain; Primary health care; Risk factors; Roland-Morris disability

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