Background Studies elsewhere suggest a lifetime rate of low back pain of about 50–80% and neck pain of about 12% in women and 9% in men.
Objectives To identify the lifetime rate of neck pain and prevalence of low back pain in the urban population of Antalya, Turkey.
Methods This survey study forms a part of larger cross-sectional study still being conducted in the urban area of Antalya (508.840 population according to 1997 national census). So far, 1521 subjects aged 16 or over were interviewed at home visits by 10 trained physicians and 20 accompanying medical students. The subjects were chosen by random cluster sampling from the registries of local offices of the Ministry of Health. Individuals were requested to respond to the questions whether they had at least one episode of neck pain and/or low back pain (both inflammatory and noninflammatory). Additional questions regarding the occurrence of low back pain at present, and in the previous year; loss of work-days in the previous year, the relation of occupation with the symptoms, and whether and how they searched for a solution for the relief of their low back pain were asked to the subjects.
Results We found a lifetime rate of neck pain of 351(46,4%) of women and 252(33,8%) of men (totally 611(40,3%) individuals) and low back pain of 430(57%) of women and 303(%40,8) of men (totally 739(48,9%) individuals). The point prevalence of low back pain was calculated as 39,9%(324 individuals), of these 210 were women and 110 were men. The point prevalence was 27,3%(n = 21) in men aged over 50 and 34,3%(n = 93) in men aged 50 or under, while it was 57,6%(n = 49) in women aged over 50 and 42,5%(n = 161) in women aged 50 or under.
Conclusion The lifetime rate of neck and low back pain were both higher in women. The increasing age seems to be associated with the point prevalence of low back pain in women contrary to men.
This study is supported by the Akdeniz University Research Fund.