BACKGROUND: Back pain is a common disabling chronic condition that burdens individuals, families and societies. Epidemiological evidence, mainly from high-income countries, shows positive association between back pain prevalence and older age. There is an urgent need for accurate epidemiological data on back pain in adult populations in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where populations are ageing rapidly. The objectives of this study are to: measure the prevalence of back pain; identify risk factors and determinants associated with back pain, and describe association between back pain and disability in adults aged 50 years and older, in six LMICs from different regions of the world. The findings provide insights into country-level differences in self-reported back pain and disability in a group of socially, culturally, economically and geographically diverse LMICs.
METHODS: Standardized national survey data collected from adults (50 years and older) participating in the World Health Organization (WHO) Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) were analysed. The weighted sample (n = 30, 146) comprised respondents in China, Ghana, India, Mexico, South Africa and the Russian Federation. Multivariable regressions describe factors associated with back pain prevalence and intensity, and back pain as a determinant of disability.
RESULTS: Prevalence was highest in the Russian Federation (56%) and lowest in China (22%). In the pooled multi-country analyses, female sex, lower education, lower wealth and multiple chronic morbidities were significant in association with past-month back pain (p<0.01). About 8% of respondents reported that they experienced intense back pain in the previous month.
CONCLUSIONS: Evidence on back pain and its impact on disability is needed in developing countries so that governments can invest in cost-effective education and rehabilitation to reduce the growing social and economic burden imposed by this disabling condition.
2015. Vol. 10, no 6, e0127880- p.