Prevalence, risk factors, and preference-based health states of low back pain in a Turkish population

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2006 Dec 1;31(25):E968-72. doi: 10.1097/01.brs.0000247787.25382.3c.


Study design: A community-based cross-sectional survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews.

Objectives: To estimate the point, 12-month period, and lifetime prevalence of low back pain (LBP) in the general population of Turkey, and to determine the factors associated with LBP. We also aim to determine self-reported health states differences between patients and the general population by the EuroQol-5D & Visual Analogue Scale (EQ5D-VAS).

Summary of background data: LBP as a major public health problem has been unquestionably the most serious pain problem. LBP generally appears between 35 and 64 years of age. Little was known about the prevalence and determinants of LBP among populations from developing areas; information mostly comes from industrialized countries. This epidemiologic study reported the prevalence of LBP in the general population in Turkey. In Turkey, community-based trials on the prevalence of LBP were scarce.

Methods: A total of 7,000 participants selected by randomly sampling from seven regions of Turkey. A comprehensive questionnaire on demographics, physical and emotional stress, LBP, and EQ5D-VAS was administered to 4,990 men and women (age range, 18-70 years).

Results: The lifetime, 12-month period, and point prevalence of LBP were 44.1%, 34.0%, and 19.7%, respectively. The prevalence of LBP in women was consistently higher than in men across all age groups. The proportion of specific LBP was 10.2%, and most common etiology of specific LBP was disc hernia. In regression analysis, occupation, physical, and emotional stress showed significant associations with having LBP. The EQ5D-VAS scores of patients with LBP were significantly lower than self-reported assessments of the population without LBP (64.6, 63.0 vs. 73.8, P < 0.05).

Conclusions: In comparison with other developing countries, the prevalence of LBP is higher in Turkey and approximates prevalence estimates of LBP in developed countries. LBP is associated with occupation. Smoking is not associated with having LBP. This study also shows that LBP influences disability and quality of life.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Low Back Pain / pathology
  • Low Back Pain / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Factors
  • Turkey / epidemiology