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Low back pain in rural Tibet.

Hoy D, Toole MJ, Morgan D, Morgan C

  • Journal Lancet (London, England)

  • Published 05 Feb 2003

  • Volume 361

  • ISSUE 9353

  • Pagination 225-6

  • DOI 10.1016/S0140-6736(03)12254-4


In a baseline assessment of 30 rural villages surrounding Shigatse City, Tibet, many people, especially women, identified low back pain as a serious health problem. Consequently, we aimed to establish the prevalence of such pain and to develop appropriate interventions. We did a cross-sectional study of the prevalence of low back pain and related functional disability using two-stage random cluster sampling. We included 499 adults aged at least 15 years from 19 villages. The point prevalence of low back pain was 34.1% (95% CI 27.9-40.3% [170 people]); the 12-month prevalence was 41.9% (35.5-48.3% [209 people]). 100 (20%) villagers had substantial functional disability associated with low back pain. Low back pain is likely to be an important and under recognised problem in rural societies like Tibet.