Disability, depression and somatization in a low back pain population
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Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of low back pain (LBP) in a primary care setting population and examine its association with the symptoms of depression and somatization. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study, utilising a survey carried out in primary health care clinics (PHCs) in Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE). A multistage stratified sampling design was used and a representative sample of 1304 UAE nationals aged 18–65 years who attended PHC clinics for any reason were included and 1103 (84.5%) subjects agreed to participate and responded to the questionnaire during a period from June 2001 to January 2002. A specially designed questionnaire with three parts was used for the data collection: socio-demographic information of the studied subjects, modified version of the Roland-Morris scale for evaluating back-related functional disability and SCL-90 R for depression and somatization subscales was used to assess depressive and somatic symptoms. Results: Of the total number of subjects surveyed (1103), 586 (53.1%) were men and 517 (46.9%) women. The mean age was 34.9 ± 13.4 years for men and 33.5 ± 11.8 years for women. The prevalence of LBP in the studied subjects was 64.7% (95% CI, 60.7–68.5] with 46.7% among men and 53.3% among women. There were a significant differences between the subjects with LBP and without LBP with respect to gender (P < 0.001), body mass index (BMI) (P < 0.001), occupational status (P < 0.001) and living environment (P = 0.016). Functional disability was higher in patients with LBP. Young patients in aged 15–34 years, patients with preparatory/secondary educational level and students showed higher depressive symptoms. A similar pattern was found in patients with somatic symptoms. Factor analysis revealed a strong association between depression and somatization in LBP patients. Conclusions: Functional disability was higher in with LBP. Furthermore, symptoms of depression and somatization are prevalent among LBP patients.
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