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Ann Afr Med. 2019 Jul-Sep;18(3):167-172. doi: 10.4103/aam.aam_59_18.

Prevalence and predictors of low back pain in a Southern Nigerian hospital.

Author information

Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria.
Department of Physiotherapy, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria.
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria.


in English, French


Low back pain (LBP) is the most common musculoskeletal disease in adults. The data on LBP from Sub-Saharan Africa are inadequate. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and analyze the predictors of LBP among hospital staff in a Nigerian tertiary hospital.

Materials and Methods:

The study participants were recruited using an opt-in approach, with the aim of including representative numbers from each professional cadre. Each participant gave formal consent. Ethical clearance was obtained.


Five hundred and sixty-three participants with the mean age of 36.0 ± 8.3 years and 62% female were interviewed. The point prevalence of LBP was 234 (42% [95% confidence interval [CI]: 37%-45%]). Profession was a significant predictor of LBP (P = 0.001) - nurses (53% [95% CI 43%-63%]), administrative officers (49% [95% CI 40%-59%]), engineers (50% [95% CI 24%-76%]), and health information staff (50% [95% CI 26%-75%]) had the highest prevalence. In univariate regression, female gender, increasing age, body mass index ≥25 kg/m2, and frequently adopting a bending posture, were significantly associated with LBP, while in multivariate regression, only the female gender was a significant predictor.


The pattern of both the professions at risk, due to the well-known mechanisms of poor ergonomics, and the marked risk for the female gender, in the hospital setting, suggest underresourced work and societal environments as the underlying factors-more research is needed.


Africa; Nigeria; low back pain; prevalence

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