An update on the prevalence of low back pain in Africa : a systematic review and meta-analyses

Morris, Linzette D. ; Daniels, Kurt J. ; Ganguli, Bhaswati ; Louw, Quinette A. (2018-06-21)

CITATION: Morris, L. D. et al. 2018. An update on the prevalence of low back pain in Africa : a systematic review and meta-analyses. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 19:196, doi:10.1186/s12891-018-2075-x.

The original publication is available at https://bmcmusculoskeletdisord.biomedcentral.com

Article

Background: Low back pain (LBP) remains a common health problem and one of the most prevalent musculoskeletal conditions found among developed and developing nations. The following paper reports on an updated search of the current literature into the prevalence of LBP among African nations and highlights the specific challenges faced in retrieving epidemiological information in Africa. Methods: A comprehensive search of all accessible bibliographic databases was conducted. Population-based studies into the prevalence of LBP among children/adolescents and adults living in Africa were included. Methodological quality of included studies was appraised using an adapted tool. Meta-analyses, subgroup analyses, sensitivity analyses and publication bias were also conducted. Results: Sixty-five studies were included in this review. The majority of the studies were conducted in Nigeria (n = 31;47%) and South Africa (n = 16;25%). Forty-three included studies (66.2%) were found to be of higher methodological quality. The pooled lifetime, annual and point prevalence of LBP in Africa was 47% (95% CI 37;58); 57% (95% CI 51;63) and 39% (95% CI 30;47), respectively. Conclusion: This review found that the lifetime, annual and point prevalence of LBP among African nations was considerably higher than or comparable to global LBP prevalence estimates reported. Due to the poor methodological quality found among many of the included studies, the over-representation of affluent countries and the difficulty in sourcing and retrieving potential African studies, it is recommended that future African LBP researchers conduct methodologically robust studies and report their findings in accessible resources. Trial registration: The original protocol of this systematic review was initially registered on PROSPERO with registration number CRD42014010417 on 09 July 2014.

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