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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 296-302

Low back pain prevalence and associated risk factors among medical students at four major medical colleges in Saudi Arabia

1 Department of Orthopedics, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Hamza M Alrabai
Department of Orthopedics, College of Medicine, King Saud University, P.O. Box 7805, Riyadh 11472
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jnsm.jnsm_132_20

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Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of low back pain (LBP) and to identify risk factors associated with LBP among medical students. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 2021 medical students from four medical colleges in Saudi Arabia during the academic year 2019–2020. A self-administered questionnaire was conducted and included three sections: demographic data, risk factors of LBP, and prevalence of LBP (during lifetime, past 12 months, and past 7 days). Data were analyzed using SPSS. Results: A total of 2021 medical students responded to our survey. The participants were 57.1% female and 42.9% male. Most of the students' ages (76.3%) ranged from 20 to 24 years. Medical students younger than 20 and older than 24 were 21.8% and 1.9%, respectively. The prevalence of LBP was 80.7% at any time, 67.6% in the past 12 months, and 38.2% in the past 7 days. Females were found to have higher prevalence of LBP than males (P < 0.0001), 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.37, 2.04). History of physical trauma to the back was significantly associated with LBP (P < 0.0001), 95% CI (1.32, 2.40). A lack of daily exercise was also found to be associated with LBP (P = 0.015), 95% CI (1.05, 1.55). LBP affected the daily functions, such as walking and sleeping, of 30.1% of medical students. Around 11% of medical students sought medical care because of LBP. Conclusions: We conclude that the prevalence of LBP is high among Saudi medical students. LBP seemed to be higher in females and associated with history of back trauma. Back care awareness should be emphasized among medical students.

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