The burden of low back pain and its association with socio-demographic variables in the Middle East and North Africa region, 1990–2019

Saeid Safiri, Seyed Aria Nejadghaderi, Maryam Noori, Mark J.M. Sullman, Gary S. Collins, Jay S. Kaufman, Catherine L. Hill, Ali Asghar Kolahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Low back pain (LBP) is the most common musculoskeletal disorder globally. Providing region- and national-specific information on the burden of low back pain is critical for local healthcare policy makers. The present study aimed to report, compare, and contextualize the prevalence, incidence and years lived with disability (YLDs) of low back pain in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by age, sex and sociodemographic index (SDI), from 1990 to 2019. Methods: Publicly available data were obtained from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study 2019. The burden of LBP was reported for the 21 countries located in the MENA region, from 1990 to 2019. All estimates were reported as counts and age-standardised rates per 100,000 population, together with their corresponding 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs). Results: In 2019, the age-standardised point prevalence and incidence rate per 100,000 in MENA were 7668.2 (95% UI 6798.0 to 8363.3) and 3215.9 (95%CI 2838.8 to 3638.3), which were 5.8% (4.3 to 7.4) and 4.4% (3.4 to 5.5) lower than in 1990, respectively. Furthermore, the regional age-standardised YLD rate in 2019 was 862.0 (605.5 to 1153.3) per 100,000, which was 6.0% (4.2 to 7.7) lower than in 1990. In 2019, Turkey [953.6 (671.3 to 1283.5)] and Lebanon [727.2 (511.5 to 966.0)] had the highest and lowest age-standardised YLD rates, respectively. There was no country in the MENA region that showed increases in the age-standardised prevalence, incidence or YLD rates of LBP over the measurement period. Furthermore, in 2019 the number of prevalent cases were highest in the 35–39 age group, with males having a higher number of cases in all age groups. In addition, the age-standardised YLD rates for males in the MENA region were higher than the global estimates in almost all age groups, in both 1990 and 2019. Furthermore, the burden of LBP was not associated with the level of socio-economic development during the measurement period. Conclusion: The burden attributable to LBP in the MENA region decreased slightly from 1990 to 2019. Furthermore, the burden among males was higher than the global average. Consequently, more integrated healthcare interventions are needed to more effectively alleviate the burden of low back pain in this region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Low back pain
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Prevalence


Dive into the research topics of 'The burden of low back pain and its association with socio-demographic variables in the Middle East and North Africa region, 1990–2019'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this