The frequency and incidence of low-back-pain/sciatica in an urban-population

Laslett, M
Crothers, C
Beattie, P
Cregten, L
Moses, A
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New Zealand Medical Association

The frequency, incidence and severity of low back pain was assessed by a random telephone survey of 314 urban New Zealanders. Relationships between the severity and frequency of low back pain and referred lower extremity pain and other variables such as occupation, recreation, age, sex and predominant working posture was analysed.Point incidence was 17.5%, weekly incidence 33.4%, yearly incidence 63.7% and total incidence 79%. Some 28.3% get frequent minor episodes and 6.4% get frequent severe episodes of low back pain. Nearly 50% suffer the initial episode before the age of 30 years.Of those suffering low back pain within the last seven days, 14.3% experience reference below the knee and the total incidence of below knee pain was 13.7%. Over half (51.6%) have pain that has lasted seven days or less, but a third have had pain for longer than seven weeks. No correlation between the incidence of low back pain and referred pain and occupational posture was found.In conclusion, this telephone survey established that the incidence of low back pain in New Zealand is similar to that reported in overseas studies. The survey could not establish differences in low back pain characteristics across different social groupings, nor could a relationship between occupational posture and low back pain be established.

New Zealand Medical Journal, vol.104(921), pp.424 - 426
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Copyright © 1991 New Zealand Medical Association ( All Rights Reserved. Authors retain the right to place his/her publication version of the work on a personal website or institutional repository for non commercial purposes. The definitive version was published in (see Citation).