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Prevalence of musculoskeletal pain and factors associated with kyphosis among pedestrian back-loading women in selected towns of Bench Maji zone, Southwest Ethiopia

Andualem Henok
Tigist Bekele


Background: In developing countries including Ethiopia, it is common to see women carrying heavy loads on their back. Musculoskeletal pain and deformities are expected to be higher when there is heavy physical work. Many women lead their lives by selling heavy fire woods to residents in urban areas by back loading. This may have an impact on musculoskeletal health.

Objective: The main objective of this study was to assess prevalence of musculoskeletal pain and factors associated with kyphosis among pedestrian back-loading women in Bench-Maji zone.

Methods: The study was conducted in Bench Maji zone, Southwest Ethiopia from January to March 2016. Cross-sectional study design was employed. The sample size was calculated to be 422. Four towns found in the zone were selected to identify women who sell fire woods by carrying it on their back. Women were selected by using convenience sampling technique. Standardized questionnaire was used to collect data on musculoskeletal pain. Checklist was used to diagnose kyphosis. Cleaned and coded data was entered in to Epidata 3.1 and exported to SPSS version 20 for analysis. Binary logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with kyphosis.

Results: Among 422 participants who were involved in this study 173(41%) were in the age range of 19-34 years. In this study, majority 340(80.6%) of the study participants were protestants. Regarding the educational status, majority 339(80.3%) of the participants were unable to read and write. Majority of the study participants were from Mizan town (50.2%). Regarding musculoskeletal pain, this study indicated that the prevalence of upper back pain, lower back pain, shoulder pain, elbow pain, wrist pain, knee pain and feet pain were 67.3%, 60.4%, 68.2%, 47.2%, 36.7%, 46.9% and 44.1% respectively. The prevalence of kyphosis was 59.7%. The odds of kyphosis was higher among age greater than 40 years (AOR= 1.91: 95% CI 1.03, 3.54) and those worked for more than 10 years (AOR= 2.15: 95% CI 1.01, 4.61) than their counter parts. Town where they come to sell fire wood was also significantly associated with kyphosis.

Conclusion: The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain was high. Age, town and duration of work were significantly associated with kyphosis. Thus, it needs attention from concerned bodies. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2017;31(2):103-109]

Keywords: Musculoskeletal pain, Kyphosis, Back loading, Ethiopia