Prevalence and risk factors for low back pain (LBP) among Taxi Drivers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Abstract Background: Low back pain has serious consequences on the overall health of an individual. Pain, decreased quality of life and disability can be a few to mention as examples of the consequences. Studies indicate that despite the increase in the prevalence of low back pain in Africa, little has so far been known in the continent about the epidemiology of low back pain in the continent. The case in Ethiopia cannot be held exception. The motivation for this study therefore arose from the need to fill this research gap in the local context. Objectives: This study was aimed to assess the prevalence and determinants of low back pain among taxi drivers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Methods: A community-based cross sectional study was conducted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The participants of the study were 422 full time taxi drivers. The study was carried out from February 2015 to May 2015. The data were collected through face-to-face interview using standardized and customized Nordic questionnaire. Data were analyzed using SPSS Version 20. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to determine association between low back pain and risk factors. Results: A total of 422 full time taxi drivers with the mean age of 35.28 (±10.059) participated in the study. Of the 422 participants, 271 (i.e., 64.2%) reported having low back pain at least for one day in the 12 months prior to the survey. Many of the participants mentioned alcohol consumption [AOR = 1.6 (95%CI; 1.0-2.7)] lack of physical exercise [AOR =1.6, (95%CI, 1.0-2.7)] and history of back trauma [AOR = 3.8 (95%CI, 2.2-6.5)] as factors leading to LBP. Long years of driving [AOR =4.6 (95%CI, 1.6-12.9)], involvement in a similar activity prior to becoming taxi driver [AOR = 2.8 (95%CI and 1.7-4.6)] and lack of rest when on duty [AOR =1.76 (95%CI, 1.7-4.6)] were further risk factors mentioned. There were also respondents who mentioned sitting on non-comfortable seat while diving [AOR = 1.74 (95%CI, 1.1-2.79)] and frequent handling of passengers’ luggage [AOR = 1.9 (95%CI, (1.2-3.0)] as risk factors of low back pain by taxi drivers in Addis Ababa. Conclusion: Low back pain was found to be common among taxi drivers in Addis Ababa. Occupation and behavior related factors were noted as strong predictors of LBP among the taxi drivers covered in the present study. Further study, with an alternative design, was recommended to investigate other risk factors of low back pain among taxi drivers. The association LBP may have with the whole body vibration and seat type could be among the focus areas of future research. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2017;31(4):244-25