Low back pain risk factors in a large rural Australian Aboriginal community. An opportunity for managing co-morbidities?
Vindigni, D., Walker, B.F., Jamison, J.R., Da Costa, C., Parkinson, L. and Blunden, S. (2005) Low back pain risk factors in a large rural Australian Aboriginal community. An opportunity for managing co-morbidities? Chiropractic & Osteopathy, 13 (1). p. 21.
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Low back pain (LBP) is the most prevalent musculo-skeletal condition in rural and remote Australian Aboriginal communities. Smoking, physical inactivity and obesity are also prevalent amongst Indigenous people contributing to lifestyle diseases and concurrently to the high burden of low back pain.
This paper aims to examine the association between LBP and modifiable risk factors in a large rural Indigenous community as a basis for informing a musculo-skeletal and related health promotion program.
A community Advisory Group (CAG) comprising Elders, Aboriginal Health Workers, academics, nurses, a general practitioner and chiropractors assisted in the development of measures to assess self-reported musculo-skeletal conditions including LBP risk factors. The Kempsey survey included a community-based survey administered by Aboriginal Health Workers followed by a clinical assessment conducted by chiropractors.
Age and gender characteristics of this Indigenous sample (n = 189) were comparable to those reported in previous Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) studies of the broader Indigenous population. A history of traumatic events was highly prevalent in the community, as were occupational risk factors. Thirty-four percent of participants reported a previous history of LBP. Sporting injuries were associated with multiple musculo-skeletal conditions, including LBP. Those reporting high levels of pain were often overweight or obese and obesity was associated with self-reported low back strain. Common barriers to medical management of LBP included an attitude of being able to cope with pain, poor health, and the lack of affordable and appropriate health care services.
Though many of the modifiable risk factors known to be associated with LBP were highly prevalent in this study, none of these were statistically associated with LBP.
Addressing particular modifiable risk factors associated with LBP such as smoking, physical inactivity and obesity may also present a wider opportunity to prevent and manage the high burden of illness imposed by co-morbidities such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
Keywords: Low back pain, risk factors, chiropractic, general health, Australian, Aboriginal, Indigenous
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