Prevalence, Risk Factors and Outcomes of Neck, Shoulders and Low-Back Pain in Secondary-School Children

Houda Ben Ayed, Sourour Yaich, Maroua Trigui, Mariem Ben Hmida, Maissa Ben Jemaa, Achraf Ammar, Jihene Jedidi, Raouf Karray, Habib Feki, Yosra Mejdoub, Mondher Kassis, Jamel Damak


Background: Musculoskeletal pain (MSP) is a public health problem among school-adolescents. This study aimed to identify the prevalence, risk factors and consequences of neck, shoulders and low-back pain among school-adolescents.

Study design: A cross-sectional study.

Methods: School-adolescents aged from 12 to 18 years between October 2017 and February 2018 in South of Tunisia were recruited. Eligible participants were randomly selected and were asked to respond a four-section questionnaire. Factors independently associated with MSP were determined through multivariate logistic regression analysis.

Results: Among 1221 enrolled subjects, shoulders, low-back and neck pain were reported in 43%, 35.8% and 32%, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that independent risk factors of neck pain were female gender (Adjusted odds ratio AOR=1.55; P=0.002), using computer ≥4 hours/week (AOR=1.50; P=0.010), too low desk (AOR=2.30; P<0.001) and carrying schoolbag ≥60 minutes (AOR=1.58; P=0.008). Female gender (AOR=3.30; P<0.001), BMI ≥25 Kg/m2 (AOR=1.6; P=0.018), playing videogames ≥2 hours/day (AOR=2.37; P<0.001) and schoolbag weight to body weight ≥10% (AOR=1.46; P=0.026) were independently associated with shoulders pain. For low back-pain, independent risk factors were high-school grade (AOR=2.70; P<0.001), playing videogames ≥2 hours/day (AOR=1.83; P<0.001), watching TV≥12 hours/week (AOR=1.5; P=0.016), too low seat backrest (AOR=1.4; P=0.005) and too far seat-to-black (board) distance (AOR=1.5; P=0.041). School-adolescents consumed drugs for MSP in 19.5%, had sleep disturbance in 34% and aggressive behaviors in 22.8%.

Conclusions: The prevalence of MSP was substantially high among school-adolescents and their associated risk factors included sociodemographic factors, leisure activities and classroom furniture. An ergonomic specific and behavior-based school program is urgently needed.



Adolescents, Musculoskeletal pain; Risk factors; Schools

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