Original Research

Low back pain among primary school teachers in Rural Kenya: Prevalence and contributing factors

Hussein E. Elias, Raymond Downing, Ann Mwangi
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 11, No 1 | a1819 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v11i1.1819 | © 2019 Hussein E. Elias, Raymond Downing, Ann Mwangi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 May 2018 | Published: 17 April 2019

About the author(s)

Hussein E. Elias, Department of Family Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya
Raymond Downing, Department of Family Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya
Ann Mwangi, Department of Behavioural Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya


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Abstract

Background: Low back pain (LBP) has been recognised as a common occupational problem with a high prevalence among work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Although there appears to be a high prevalence of LBP among school teachers, there is inadequate information on the prevalence and predisposing factors of LBP among primary school teachers in rural Western Kenya.

Aim: To determine the prevalence, factors associated with LBP and physical disability caused by LBP.

Setting: The setting was public schools in rural Western Kenya selected by simple random sampling method.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among primary teachers from public schools using a self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire included information on LBP, demographic data, occupational and psychosocial factors and disability score. The 12-month prevalence, associated factors and LBP disability were analysed.

Results: The 12-month self-reported prevalence of LBP among primary teachers was 64.98%, with close to 70% of them reporting minimal disability. The logistic regression analysis showed that female gender (odds ratio [OR]: 1.692, p < 0.02) was associated with LBP and high supervisor support (OR: 0.46, p < 0.003) was negatively associated with LBP.

Conclusion: The prevalence of LBP among primary school teachers in rural Western Kenya is 64.98%, with the majority of them reporting minimal disability. The identified risk factors were female gender and low supervisor support. The presence of work-related psychosocial risk factors in this study suggests a comprehensive approach in evaluation and management of LBP. Preventive measures should be in place to prevent and reduce the progression of LBP disability.


Keywords

low back pain; rural; Kenya; teachers, primary school; public schools; risk factors; disability

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