High burden of musculoskeletal conditions: a problem that has only recently come to recognition

Chronic Illn. 2011 Dec;7(4):311-20. doi: 10.1177/1742395311420611. Epub 2011 Sep 29.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lebanon / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult