Objectives: Musculoskeletal conditions have only recently been acknowledged and research on their burden is scarce in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. For the first time, a population based study was conducted in Lebanon to assess the prevalence, level of disability, and health seeking behaviours related to musculoskeletal pain and rheumatic disorders.
Methods: A random sample of 500 participants aged ≥ 15 years from Southern Lebanon was interviewed using the COPCORD (Community Oriented Program for Control of Rheumatic Diseases) questionnaire.
Results: The prevalence of current musculoskeletal pain was 31.2% [CI (27.0-35.2%)]. Being a female [OR=1.8, CI (1.2-2.8)] and of advancing age [OR=1.03, CI (1.01-1.05)] were the only significant factors associated with current musculoskeletal pain. Prevalence of current functional disability was 6.4% [CI (4.2-8.5%)]. Around quarter (26.0%) [CI (22.3-30.1%)] of our sample sought some kind of treatment. The overall prevalence rate of rheumatic disease was 17.0% [CI (13.7-20.3%)].
Discussion: Our findings indicate that musculoskeletal conditions are common in Lebanon. This is a timely public health issue that needs further investigation and solid recognition by health authorities. Community-based interventions should target patients to prompt them to seek early help in order to prevent the development of musculoskeletal pain into disorders.