Prevalence of Low Back Pain Among Specialist Medical Consultants at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State

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Somiari Lucky Harcourt
John Edoka Raphael


Low Back Pain, Medical Consultants, Medical Doctors, NSAID


Background: Low back pain (LBP) is the 5th leading cause of physician consultation and is a significant cause of lost workforce hours with tremendous economic implications in every society. These findings suggest that medical practice in Nigeria is a potential risk factor for developing low back pain. Few studies have attempted to evaluate the medical specialties as risk factors for LBP. This study evaluates the prevalence of low back pain among various Specialist Medical Consultants in a typical Teaching Hospital.

Methodology: This is a descriptive cross-sectional study performed using self-administered questionnaires. The study population comprised Specialist Medical Consultants working at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The questionnaires were distributed among consultant physicians regardless of their departments. Information about their age, sex, medical specialties, presence frequency and severity of LBP; interventions received, and outcome were obtained.

Result: There were 98 respondents, 56 (57%) males and 42 (43%) females who participated in the study. The modal age of the respondents is the 41-50 years age group (45%). 44%, were from the surgical specialties (surgery, anaesthesia, oral and maxillofacial surgery, ophthalmology); 33% from the internal and family medicine specialties; (11) 11% pediatricians and (12) 12.2 % were pathologists. The prevalence of low back pain was 60.2%, slightly more prevalent in males (62%) than females (58%). Of those who have experienced low back pain, 35.6% suffered mild pain (VAS 1-4), 49% suffered moderate pain (VAS 5-7) while 17% suffered severe pain (VAS 8-10). The majority (57.6%) had suffered more than 3 episodes of LBP while 84.8% sought treatment for their symptom mostly using NSAIDS.

Conclusion: LBP has a high prevalence among Specialist Medical Consultants in UPTH potentially affecting patient treatment and student education. Most consultants take NSAIDS as treatment for low back pain.

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