European Spine Journal

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 341–345 | Cite as

Low back pain in Mozambican adolescents

  • A. Prista
  • F. BalaguéEmail author
  • M. Nordin
  • M. L. Skovron
Original Article


Recent literature shows that the prevalence of low back pain (LBP) in adolescents living in Western countries approaches that of adults 18–55 years of age. Moreover, epidemiological studies have also shown that the frequency of different rheumatic disorders in developing countries is similar to that found in Western industrialized regions. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the prevalence of LBP and to explore some risk factors among adolescents living in different zones of Mozambique. A previously validated questionnaire was distributed to schoolchildren of grades 6 and 7 living in three different residential/social regions of the country. Two hundred four (204) children participated in the survey. Median age was 13 years (age range 11–16 years) and 46% were boys. Several episodes of LBP interfering with usual activities during the previous year were reported by 13.5% of the sample. Living in the wealthier urban center (as compared with the peripheral regions) and walking >30 min per day to and from school were associated with an increased risk of LBP (OR 3.1, 95% CI 0.99–9.48, and OR 4.8, 95% CI 1.61–14.28, respectively).


Low back pain Adolescents Africa Risk factors Epidemiology 


  1. 1.
    Abdel-Nasser AM, Rasker JJ, Valkenburg HA (1997) Epidemiological and clinical aspects relating to the variability of rheumatoid arthritis. Semin Arthritis Rheum 27:123–140PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Adebajo A (1995) Epidemiology and community studies: Africa. Baillière’s Clin Rheumatol 9:21–30Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Adebajo A, Davis P (1994) Rheumatic diseases in African Blacks. Semin Arthritis Rheum 24:139–53PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Balagué F, Dutoit G, Waldburger M (1988) Low back pain in schoolchildren: an epidemiological study. Scand J Rehabil Med 20:175–179PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Balagué F, Nordin M, Skovron ML, Dutoit G, Yee A, Waldburger M (1994) Non-specific low-back pain among schoolchildren: a field survey with analysis of some associated factors. J Spinal Disord 7:374–379PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Balagué F, Skovron ML, Nordin M, Dutoit G, Waldburger M (1995) Low back pain in schoolchildren. A study of familial and psychological factors. Spine 20:1265–1270PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bezzaoucha A (1992) Epidemiologie descriptive de la lombalgie à Alger. Rev Rhum Mal Ostéoartic 59:121–124Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Burton AK, Clarke RD, McClune TD, Tillotson KM (1996) The natural history of low-back pain in adolescents. Spine 20:2323–2328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bwanahali K, Dikilu K, Kilesi M, Kapita B (1992) Quelques aspects étiologiques des lombalgies chez les rhumatisants consultants a Kinshasa (Zaïre). Rev Rhum Mal Osteoartic 59:253–257PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Das P, Shukla K, Öry F (1992) An occupational health program for adults and children in the carpet weaving industry, Mirzapur, India: a case study in the informal sector. Soc Sci Med 35:1293–1302CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Deyo R (1997) Point of view. Spine 22:1754CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hameed K, Gibson T (1997) A comparison of the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic diseases amongst Pakistanis living in England and Pakistan. Br J Rheumatol 36:781–785CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Honeyman PT, Jacobs EA (1996) Effects of culture on back pain in Australian Aboriginals. Spine 21:841–843CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Jacobsson L, Nagi D, Pillemer S et al. (1996) Low prevalence of chronic widespread pain and shoulder disorders among the Pima Indians. J Rheumatol 23:907–909PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mijiyawa M, Koumouvi K, Segbena A et al. (1996) Pathologie rachidienne en consultation rhumatologique à Lomé (Togo). Ann Med Interne 147:397–401Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Mijiyawa M, Oniankitan I, Attoh-Mensah K et al. (1999) Musculoskeletal conditions in children attending two Togolese hospitals. Rheumatology 38:1010–1013CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Prista A, Marques AT, Maia JAR (1997) Relationship between physical activity, socioeconomic status, and physical fitness of 8–15-year-old youth from Mozambique. Am J Hum Biol 9:449–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Salminen JJ, Erkintalo TM, Laine M, Pentti J (1995) Low-back pain in the young. A prospective three-year follow-up study of subjects with and without low-back pain. Spine 20:2101–2108PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Sanders S, Brena S, Spier C, Beltrutti D, McConnell H, Quintero O (1992) Chronic low back pain patients around the world: cross-cultural similarities and differences. Clin J Pain 8:317–323PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Skovron ML, Szpalski M, Nordin M, Melot C, Cukier D (1994) Sociocultural factors and back pain. A population-based study in Belgian adults. Spine 19:129–137PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Taimela S, Kujala UM, Salminen JJ, Viljanen T (1997) The prevalence of low back pain among children and adolescents. Spine 22:1132–1136CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Volinn E (1997) The epidemiology of low back pain in the rest of the world. A review of surveys in low- and middle-income countries. Spine 22:1747–1754Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Prista
    • 1
  • F. Balagué
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. Nordin
    • 3
  • M. L. Skovron
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineUniversidade Eduardo MondlaneMaputoMozambique
  2. 2.Service de RhumatologieMédecine Physique et Rééducation, Hôpital CantonalFribourgSwitzerland
  3. 3.Occupational Industrial and Orthopedic CenterNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Global Epidemiology and Outcomes ResearchBristol-Myers Squibb, Inc.PenningtonUSA

Personalised recommendations