Prevalence of symptomatic axial osteoarthritis phenotypes in Spain and associated socio-demographic, anthropometric, and lifestyle variables

Rheumatol Int. 2022 Jun;42(6):1085-1096. doi: 10.1007/s00296-021-05038-4. Epub 2021 Nov 10.


Objective: Axial osteoarthritis (OA) is a common cause of back and neck pain, however, few studies have examined its prevalence. The aim was to estimate the prevalence and the characteristics of symptomatic axial OA in Spain.

Methods: EPISER2016 is a cross-sectional multicenter population-based study of people aged 40 years or older. Subjects were randomly selected using multistage stratified cluster sampling. Participants were contacted by telephone to complete rheumatic disease screening questionnaires. Two phenotypes were analyzed, patients with Non-exclusive axial OA (NEA-OA) and Exclusive axial OA (EA-OA). To calculate the prevalence and its 95% confidence interval (CI), the sample design was considered and weighting was calculated according to age, sex and geographic origin.

Results: Prevalence of NEA-OA by clinical or clinical-radiographic criteria was 19.17% (95% CI: 17.82-20.59). The frequency of NEA-OA increased with age (being 3.6 times more likely in patients aged 80 s or more than in those between 40 and 49 years) and body mass index. It was significantly more frequent in women, as well as in the center of Spain. It was less frequent in those with a higher level of education. Lumbar OA was more frequent than cervical OA. This difference grew with increasing age and was not associated with gender. It was also greater in overweight and obese subjects.

Conclusions: This is the first study on the prevalence of axial OA phenotypes in Europe describing the associated socio-demographic, anthropometric, and lifestyle variables.

Keywords: Osteoarthritis; Phenotypes; Prevalence; Spine.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Osteoarthritis* / epidemiology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee*
  • Phenotype
  • Prevalence
  • Spain / epidemiology