Prevalence of neck and low back pain in community-dwelling adults in Spain: a population-based national study

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 Feb 1;36(3):E213-9. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181d952c2.

Abstract

Study design: Cross-sectional epidemiological study.

Objective: To determine the 1-year prevalence of neck pain and low back pain in the Spanish population and their association with sociodemographic and lifestyle habits, self-reported health status and comorbidity with other chronic disorders.

Summary of background data: No recent population-based epidemiological studies have estimated the prevalence of neck and low back pain in Spain.

Methods: We analyzed data obtained from adults aged 16 years or older (n = 29,478) who participated in the 2006 Spanish National Health Survey, an ongoing, home-based personal interview which examines a nation-wide representative sample of civilian noninstitutionalized population residing in main family dwellings (household) of Spain. We analyzed prevalence data of neck and low back pain and their relationship with socio-demographic characteristics (sex, age, marital status, educational level, occupational status, or monetary income), self-perceived health status, lifestyle habits (smoking habit, alcohol consumption, sleep habit, physical exercise, or obesity), and the presence of concomitant chronic diseases or symptoms.

Results: The 1-year prevalence was 19.5% (95% CI: 18.9-20.1) for neck pain and 19.9% (95% CI: 19.3-20.5) for low back pain. Both neck pain and low back pain were higher among female (26.4% and 24.5%) than male (12.3% and 15.1%). Subjects in the 31 to 50 years group were 1.5 times (95% CI: 1.3-1.8) more likely to report low back pain than participants in the 16 to 30 years group. Individuals reporting neck or low back pain showed worse self-reported health status (OR: 4.9, 95% CI: 4.5-5.3 for neck pain; OR: 4.7, 95% CI: 4.3-5.1 for low back pain) and were more likely to complain of depression (OR: 4.3, 95% CI: 3.9-4.7 or OR: 3.6, 95% CI: 3.3-3.9, respectively). Further, a strong association between neck and low back pain was found (OR: 15.6, 95% CI: 14.2-17.1). Finally, neck pain and low back pain were also associated with several other chronic conditions, particularly arthrosis (OR: 6.5, 95% CI: 6.0-7.0), and headaches (OR: 4.3, 95% CI: 3.9-4.8) for neck pain, and both arthrosis (OR: 5.7, 95% CI: 5.3-6.2), and osteoporosis (OR: 6.3, 95% CI: 5.6-7.2), for low back pain.

Conclusion: This Spanish population-based survey showed that neck and low back pain are prevalent and highly associated between them, more frequent in female (particularly neck pain) and associated to worse self-reported health status. Individuals with neck and low back pain were more likely than those without pain to have depression and other painful conditions, including headache and osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys / methods
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / diagnosis
  • Neck Pain / epidemiology*
  • Population Surveillance* / methods
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Sex Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Young Adult