Prevalence, Perception and Correlates of Low Back Pain Among Healthcare Workers in Tertiary Health Institutions in Sokoto, Nigeria

  • Kehinde J. Awosan
  • Semen S. Yikawe
  • Oche M. Oche
  • Muhammad Oboirien
Keywords: Prevalence, perception, correlates, low back pain, healthcare workers.


Background: Low back pain (LBP) is a common cause of disability worldwide. Healthcare workers are particularly prone to it because of the physical and emotional factors associated with their profession. Objectives: To determine the prevalence, perception and correlates of LBP among healthcare workers in tertiary health institutions in Sokoto, Nigeria. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 320 healthcare workers selected by multistage sampling technique from July to September 2016. Anthropometry was done for the participants in addition to questionnaire administration. Results: The mean age of the study participants was 36.99 8.23 years. The lifetime, annual, and point prevalence of LBP among the participants were 56.2%, 39.1% and 17.2% respectively. Most, 151 (83.9%) of the 180 participants that have ever experienced LBP reported that it commenced after starting work, and they perceived it to be due to standing for long hours (57.2%), awkward postures (22.2%) and carrying heavy objects/patients at work (20.6%). Older age, female sex, longer duration of practice, overweight/obesity, and lifting heavy objects/patients at work were significantly associated with LBP among the participants. Conclusion: The prevalence of LBP is high among healthcare workers in Sokoto, Nigeria; although it was also associated with older age and female sex, being in practice for 10 years and above, overweight/obesity, and lifting heavy objects/patients at work were the predictors identified. Management of the respective hospitals should prevent workplace exposures to heavy weight/objects by establishing “lift teams” as a temporary measure, and also implement “zero lift programs” in their facilities.