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Prevalence of Chronic Neck Pain, Low Back Pain, and Knee Pain and Their Related Factors in Community-Dwelling Adults in Iran: A Population-based National Study

Noormohammadpour, Pardis MD; Mansournia, Mohammad Ali MD, PhD; Koohpayehzadeh, Jalil MD; Asgari, Fereshteh MD; Rostami, Mohsen MD; Rafei, Ali MSc; Kordi, Ramin MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000396
Original Articles

Background: Chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP) is increasing in prevalence rapidly. Over the past 2 decades low back pain has been ranked globally as the primary cause of years lived with disability. The primary objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of chronic neck pain (CNP), chronic low back pain (CLBP), and chronic knee pain (CKP) and their related risk factors in the national Iranian population.

Methods: We analyzed data obtained through a cross-sectional, population-based survey of 7889 Iranians who were aged between 30 and 70 years.

Results: The prevalence of CNP, CLBP, and CKP was 15.34%, 27.18%, and 29.97%, respectively. Female sex, aging, body mass index≥25, Lur or Arab ethnicity, illiteracy, passive smoking, positive osteoporosis history, and low or high physical activity levels were risk factors for CLBP, CNP, and CKP after adjustment for potential confounders. For example, in participants with a body mass index≥30, odds ratios for CNP, CLBP, and CKP adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, living area, education, employment status, smoking, and physical activity levels were 1.26 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-1.52), 1.37 (95% CI, 1.17-1.59), and 1.64 (95% CI, 1.41-1.91), respectively.

Conclusions: This is the first study investigating the prevalence of CNP, CLBP, and CKP in the national population of Iran. It shows some modifiable risk factors for CMP, and suggests that affordable planning for these risk factors can be valuable in preventing CMP globally. However, this is a cross-sectional study and future longitudinal studies in this field are necessary.

*Sports Medicine Research Center, Neuroscience Institute

Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, School of Medicine

§Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health

#Department of Neurosurgery, Shariati Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences

Spine Division, Noorafshar Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine Hospital

Department of Community Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences

Centre for Disease Control and Management, Tehran, Iran

Supported by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences & Health Services Tehran, Iran, and Centre for Disease Control and Management, Iran. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Ramin Kordi, MD, PhD, Sports Medicine Research Center, Neuroscience Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, No 7, Al-e Ahmad St., Tehran, 14395-578, Iran (e-mail:

Received July 26, 2015

Received in revised form June 24, 2016

Accepted May 15, 2016

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