Prevalence and predictors of low back pain among the Iranian population: Results from the Persian cohort study

Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2022 Jan 10:74:103243. doi: 10.1016/j.amsu.2022.103243. eCollection 2022 Feb.


Background and objectives: Low back pain (LBP) is a common health condition in populations. Limited large-scale population-based studies evaluated the prevalence and predictors of LBP in developing countries. This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence and factors associated with LBP among the Iranian population.

Methods: We used baseline information from the Prospective Epidemiological Research Studies in Iran (PERSIAN), including individuals from 16 provinces of Iran. LBP was defined as the history of back pain interfering with daily activities for more than one week during an individual's lifetime. Various factors hypothesized to affect LBP, such as age, sex, marital status, educational status, ethnicity, living area, employment status, history of smoking, body mass index (BMI), physical activity, sleep duration, wealth score, history of joint pain, and history of morning stiffness in the joints were evaluated.

Results: In total, 163770 Iranians with a mean age of 49.37 (SD = 9.15) were included in this study, 44.8% of whom were male. The prevalence of LBP was 25.2% among participants. After adjusting for confounders, the female gender [OR:1.244(1.02-1.50)], middle and older ages [OR:1.23(1.10-1.33) and OR:1.13(1.07-1.42), respectively], being overweight or obese [OR:1.13(1.07-1.19) and OR:1.21(1.16-1.27), respectively], former and current smokers (OR:1.25(1.16-1.36) and OR:1.28(1.17-1.39), respectively], low physical activity [OR:1.07(1.01-1.14)], and short sleep duration [OR: 1.09(1.02-1.17)] were significantly associated with LBP.

Conclusion: In this large-scale study, we found the lifetime prevalence of LBP to be lower among the Iranian population in comparison to the global prevalence of LBP; further studies are warranted to evaluate the causality of risk factors on LBP.

Keywords: BMI, body mass index; Iran; LBP, low back pain; Low back pain; PERSIAN; Prevalence; YLD, years of healthy life lost due to disability.