Has the prevalence of invalidating musculoskeletal pain changed over the last 15 years (1993-2006)? A Spanish population-based survey
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Is body pain getting worse? It seems to be in Spain. Studying health surveys of the population of Spain, researchers looked for changes in rates of serious musculoskeletal pain since the early 90s, finding that it “increased from 1993 to 2001, but remained stable from the last years (2001 to 2006).” They also found that it was more common in women (almost twice as much), the poor, the insomniac, and people with other health problems.
The aim of the current study was to estimate the prevalence and time trend of invalidating musculoskeletal pain in the Spanish population and its association with socio-demographic factors, lifestyle habits, self-reported health status, and comorbidity with other diseases analyzing data from 1993-2006 Spanish National Health Surveys (SNHS).
We analyzed individualized data taken from the SNHS conducted in 1993 (n = 20,707), 2001 (n = 21,058), 2003 (n = 21,650) and 2006 (n = 29,478). Invalidating musculoskeletal pain was defined as pain suffered from the preceding 2 weeks that decreased main working activity or free-time activity by at least half a day. We analyzed socio-demographic characteristics, self-perceived health status, lifestyle habits, and comorbid conditions using multivariate logistic regression models. Overall, the prevalence of invalidating musculoskeletal pain in Spanish adults was 6.1% (95% CI, 5.7-6.4) in 1993, 7.3% (95% CI, 6.9-7.7) in 2001, 5.5% (95% CI, 5.1-5.9) in 2003 and 6.4% (95% CI 6-6.8) in 2006.
The prevalence of invalidating musculoskeletal pain among women was almost twice that of men in every year (P < .05). The multivariate analysis showed that occupational status (unemployed), sleep <8 hours/day and having any accident in the preceding year were significantly associated in both gender with a higher likelihood of suffering from invalidating musculoskeletal pain among Spanish adults. Within men, other predictors of invalidating musculoskeletal pain were to be married and lower educational level, whereas in women were age of 45-64 years old (OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.32-2.7), obesity (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.06-1.42), a sedentary lifestyle (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.06-1.42), and presence of comorbid chronic diseases (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.14-1.53). Further, worse self-reported health status was also related to a greater prevalence of invalidating musculoskeletal pain (OR 6.88, 95% 5.62-8.40 men, OR 7.24, 95% 6.11-8.57 women).
Finally, we found that the prevalence of invalidating musculoskeletal pain increased from 1993 to 2001 for both men (OR 1.31, 95% 1.08-1.58) and women (OR 1.19, 95% 1.03-1.39) with no significant increase from the remaining surveys. Our results suggest that invalidating musculoskeletal pain deserves an increased awareness among health professionals. More educational programs which address postural hygiene, physical exercise, and how to prevent obesity and sedentary lifestyle habits should be provided by Public Health Services.
PERSPECTIVE: This population-based study indicates that invalidating musculoskeletal pain that reduces main working activity is a public health problem in Spain. The prevalence of invalidating musculoskeletal pain was higher in women than in men and associated to lower income, poor sleeping, worse self-reported health status, and other comorbid conditions. Further, the prevalence of invalidating musculoskeletal pain increased from 1993 to 2001, but remained stable from the last years (2001 to 2006).
- “Is musculoskeletal pain more common now than 40 years ago? Two population-based cross-sectional studies,” an article in Rheumatology (Oxford), 2005.
These three articles on PainScience.com cite Jiménez-Sánchez 2010 as a source:
- PS The Trouble with Chairs — The science of being sedentary and how much it does (or doesn’t) affect your health and back pain
- PS Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain Syndrome — A guide to the unfinished science of muscle pain, with reviews of every theory and self-treatment and therapy option
- PS Save Yourself from Low Back Pain! — Low back pain myths debunked and all your treatment options reviewed