Low Back Pain in a Representative Sample of Greek Population: Analysis According to Personal and Socioeconomic Characteristics

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Abstract

Study Design.

A cross-sectional study of low back pain and its related aspects in a representative sample of Greek population.

Objectives.

To estimate the prevalence of low back pain in the Greek population and to study the association of low back pain frequency and severity with socioeconomic and demographic characteristics.

Summary of Background Data.

Several prevalence studies carried out in different populations suggest a high frequency of this condition in the general population. Socioeconomic and demographic factors are likely to influence frequency and severity of low back pain. In Greece, there have been no previous studies investigating low back pain frequency and severity and its related aspects in the general population. Studies carried out in selected Greek populations suggest a 3-month prevalence of about 50%.

Methods.

A 2000-person sample of the Greek population older than 15 years was selected by multiple-stage sampling, with definition of sample quotas based on demographic characteristics. Information about low back pain and its related aspects, as well as about socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, was collected by personal interviews. The study was carried out between March 10 and April 12, 2000.

Results.

A total of 635 persons (31.7%) reported low back pain the last month. Among them 126 (19.9%) stayed in bed for some time, with a mean duration of staying in bed of 5.5 days. Work absenteeism represented a 19.1% of people younger than 65 years (54 persons) with a mean duration of 4.52 days. Low back pain frequency and severity were related to several socio-demographic factors at a statistically significant level. Sex, age, and kind of job presented a significant association with risk of low back pain independently from other socioeconomic factors.

Conclusions.

According to the results of the study, low back pain is a frequent symptom in the general Greek population. Low back pain frequency and severity are associated with several socio-demographic factors, especially with age, sex, and kind of job.

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