Prevalence of Lower Back Pain and its Relation to Stress Among medical Students in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Sara Fahad Al-shammari, Mahdi Mohammad Bassi, Ammar Khalid Alghanmi, lama saeed Alharbi, Rawan Dakhel Alhazmi, Lama Tarik Babhair



Background: Lower back pain (LBP) has become one of the serious issues globally. Medical students and their highly demanding programs made them more liable for LBP, which may reflect their academic performance and mental health. Still, not enough studies discussed this topic in the middle east region. This study aimed to estimate and measure LBP's prevalence and its relation to stress among medical students in Saudi Arabia.

Method: A cross-sectional study conducted among medical students from second to the sixth year from the following colleges in Jeddah city: KAU, ISNC, FCSM, KSAU, BMC, JU. A pre-validated questionnaire, including the “Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire” and “Kessler Psychological Distress Scale,” was distributed through social media. Data were analyzed by SPSS version 25. A p-value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant, and 95% confidence interval (CI).

Results: A total of 452 participants filled the questionnaire. The mean age was (21.62 ± 1.877). (68.1%) Participants had complained about LBP during the last 12 months, with a significant association between the prevalence of LBP and gender (p=0.001). The majority of females who complained of LBP (75%) had severe stress disorder scores by the K10-scale. Normal BMI students had a higher prevalence of LBP more than others, although there was a positive correlation between the prevalence of LBP and BMI (r=0.188).

Conclusion: Medical students have a high prevalence of LBP, interfering with their daily function and mental health. LBP may be one of the causes of depression and anxiety in this population. We recommend that college facilities include an indoor gym to encourage students to exercise and provide an academic adviser for each student, to help students deal with their stress so that they can perform better in their studies and social lives.


Medical students; Pain; Exercises; Lower back pain (LPB); Stress

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