Prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions, associated pain and disability and the barriers to managing these conditions in a rural, Australian Aboriginal community

Vindigni, D, Griffen, D, Perkins, J, Da Costa, C and Parkinson, L 2004, 'Prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions, associated pain and disability and the barriers to managing these conditions in a rural, Australian Aboriginal community', Rural and Remote Health, vol. 4, pp. 1-13.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions, associated pain and disability and the barriers to managing these conditions in a rural, Australian Aboriginal community
Author(s) Vindigni, D
Griffen, D
Perkins, J
Da Costa, C
Parkinson, L
Year 2004
Journal name Rural and Remote Health
Volume number 4
Start page 1
End page 13
Total pages 12
Publisher Deakin University
Abstract INTRODUCTION - Internationally, musculoskeletal conditions are a major morbidity issue for Indigenous populations and the social and economic burden imposed by musculoskeletal complaints is significant. However, little is known about the prevalence and associated pain and impairment of musculoskeletal conditions among rural Indigenous Australians. METHODS - The study was conducted between January 2001 and July 2002. Design: A cross-sectional research design was used. Sample: Participants included 189 Indigenous members of the community, 80 of whom were randomly selected and 109 were recruited using a convenience sample. The sample included 87 males (46%) and 102 females (53%). Participants' mean age was 44 years (±14.8). Measures: The main outcome measures were sites of current pain, self-reported levels of pain, limitations to activities of daily living, and barriers to managing these conditions. PROCEDURE - Following a screening survey participants underwent a clinical examination conducted by musculoskeletal health professional trained in standardised, clinical assessment procedures. RESULTS - Lower back pain, followed by neck, head and shoulder pain were the most common conditions. Approximately 57% of participants suffered from 2 to 4 musculoskeletal conditions. The most commonly endured level of pain was 'high'. There were no significant differences between male and female participants in terms of reported levels of pain. The level of pain reported was relatively high compared with the level of associated limitation of activities of daily living. A majority of participants had suffered from their principal condition for 7 weeks or more, indicating high levels of chronicity in the community. CONCLUSION - The majority of people living in this large rural, Indigenous community have learnt to live with chronic levels of pain affecting multiple anatomical sites. Strategies such as community musculoskeletal health promotion and appropriately trained community health workers can assist the community manage this chronic burden of disability. There is scope for further study into the musculoskeletal health of both rural and urban Indigenous populations.
Subject Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Indigenous population
musculoskeletal condition
morbidity
ISSN 1445-6354
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