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Title: An epidemiological investigation of low back pain in the white population of the greater eThekwini metropolitan area
Authors: Dyer, Brinique Ann 
Issue Date: 2012
Background: Previous investigations on the epidemiology of low back pain (LBP) in South
Africa where limited to black, indian and coloured populations to the exclusion of whites. Thus
the aim of this study was to determine a LBP profile and an overview of risk factors in the white
population in the eThekwini metropolitan area.
Objectives: These included documenting the point, period and lifetime prevalence of LBP,
describing the characteristics of LBP, identifying the risk factors of LBP and assessing the
effect on activities of daily living in the white population in the greater eThekwini metropolitan
Method: The three most densely populated white suburbs in the greater eThekwini
metropolitan were chosen and classified according to income potential (high/middle/low
income) to ensure a balanced sample. Six hundred white participants were used in the study
having 200 white participants in each suburb. Statistical Program for the Social Sciences
(SPSS) version 18.0 was used to analyse the data.
Results: The prevalence of LBP was recorded as follows: lifetime prevalence (48%), period
prevalence from 0-3 months (21.3%), 6-12 months (18.3%), LBP longer than 12 months
(7.8%) and lastly point prevalence was recorded at 34%. All prevalences were notably lower
than international and previously published African norms. The majority of the participants who
reported current LBP stated that their pain was moderate (54.3%) [only 14.9% had severe
pain]. The worst pain occurred in the evening. Non-progression of LBP was reported by most
participants (41%), while some participants reported worsening (35.2%) and only (18%) were
getting better. Current pain with mild disability was most frequent at 51.8%, often associated
with bending and lifting, which were reported as the highest offenders for causing LBP. Only
16.8% of all participants had to stay away from work due to LBP for any period. The
demographics of the sample indicated that age had significant difference in predisposing to
LBP (the high income (highest age) verse low income (lowest age)). The gender distribution
showed higher prevalence of LBP in females (53.3%) and males (46.7%). The factors
associated with LBP predisposition in some instances were at odds with the prevailing
literature, indicating that further research is required on white population group in Africa.
Dissertation submitted in partial compliance with the requirements for the Master's Degree in Technology: Chiropractic, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2012.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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