Prevalence and risks factors of caregiving-related low back pain among caregivers of stroke survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2023 Dec;59(6):682-688. doi: 10.23736/S1973-9087.23.07970-4. Epub 2023 Oct 18.


Introduction: Stroke causes disability that makes its survivors depend on caregivers for help. The caregivers offer help during lifting and transferring patients from one place to another. However, such activities result in the caregivers sustaining musculoskeletal injuries such as the low back pain (LBP). The aim of this study was to carry out a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the prevalence of LBP and its risk factors among these caregivers.

Evidence acquisition: PubMED, Embase, Web of Science (WoS) and CINAHL were searched until January 2023, and cross-sectional studies were included. Data on prevalence of LBP due to caregiving activities and participants' characteristics such as sex and nature of caregiving were extracted.

Evidence synthesis: Risks of bias of the included studies were assessed using Agency for healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) tool. The data were analyzed using both narrative and quantitative syntheses. In the quantitative synthesis, random effect model meta-analysis of the prevalence and odd of developing LBP between men and women; and between partial and complete caregivers was used. Fives studies (N.=644) were included. The results showed that the prevalence of LBP was 53.9%, with 96% CI from 50.0% to 57.8%. In addition, there was no statistically significant difference in the risk of developing LBP between men and women (OR=1.58, 95% CI=0.27 to 9.27, P=0.61); and between partial and complete caregivers (OR=1.33, 95% CI=0.32 to 5.61, P=0.70).

Conclusions: About half of caregivers of stroke survivors may experience LBP. Therefore, this should be considered during rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain* / epidemiology
  • Low Back Pain* / etiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Stroke* / complications
  • Stroke* / epidemiology