Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorder symptoms affecting adults’ health in the workplace including academic settings.
To estimate the prevalence of LBP among academic teaching staff at King Abdulaziz University, as well as to identify its socio-demographic and work-related risk factors.
A cross-sectional study design was used to estimate the prevalence of LBP and the risk factors in 123 academic teaching staff members at King Abdulaziz University. Data on LBP history and disability using Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), work-related and socio-demographic characteristics of study participants were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire. The prevalence of low back pain data was analyzed using frequency and percentage descriptive statistics, and Chi-square was used to identify group differences.
A total of 123 academic teaching staff with a mean age of 37.5 years old of whom 79 (64.2%) were females and 44 (35.8%) were males completed a self-administrative questionnaire. Using a self-rating scale, approximately a quarter of academic teaching staff had moderate disability 25.2%; 4.9% had a severe disability; only one subject 0.8% was crippled. There has been a significant relationship between the number of years of experience and the extent of low back disability (P < 0.05). The Chi-square test revealed 56.3% of takes part with 11-15 years of experience have moderate disability relative to those with 0-5 years of experience (11.1%). There was a trend towards significance among academic teaching staff for the effect of the faculty stream on low back disability (P = 0.077, Chi-square test revealed teaching staff in the medical stream had the highest percentage of participates with minimal disability (78.7%) whereas in the scientific stream had the lowest percentage of minimal disability (52%).
The findings of this study have shown that there is a major problem of low back pain among academic staff at King Abdulaziz University and that the situation in other higher education institutions in Saudi Arabia is changing.