OBJECTIVES: To assess the prevalence of self-reported low back pain (LBP), and neck and/or shoulder pain (NSP) among secondary school teachers; and to evaluate the association of LBP and NSP with psychological distress and work-related psychosocial factors.
METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study conducted among teachers in the state of Penang, Malaysia. The participants were recruited via a two stage sampling method. Information on demographic, psychological distress, work-related psychosocial factors, and musculoskeletal pain (LBP and NSP) in the past 12 months was collected using a self-administered questionnaire. Poisson regression was used to estimate the prevalence ratio (PR) for the associations between psychological distress and work-related psychosocial factors with LBP and NSP.
RESULTS: The prevalence of self-reported LBP and NSP among 1482 teachers in the past 12 months was 48.0% (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 45.2%, 50.9%) and 60.1% (95% CI 57.4%, 62.9%) respectively. From the multivariate analysis, self-reported LBP was associated with teachers who reported severe to extremely severe depression (PR: 1.71, 95% CI 1.25, 2.32), severe to extremely severe anxiety (1.46, 95% CI 1.22, 1.75), high psychological job demand (1.29, 95% CI 1.06, 1.57), low skill discretion (1.28, 95% CI 1.13, 1.47) and poorer mental health (0.98, 95% CI 0.97, 0.99). Self-reported NSP was associated with mild to moderate anxiety (1.18, 95% CI 1.06, 1.33), severe to extremely severe anxiety (1.25, 95% CI 1.09, 1.43), low supervisory support (1.13, 95% CI 1.03, 1.25) and poorer mental health (0.98, 95% CI 0.97, 0.99).
CONCLUSIONS: Self-reported LBP and NSP were common among secondary school teachers. Interventions targeting psychological distress and work-related psychosocial characteristics may reduce musculoskeletal pain among school teachers.
Objective: To explore the primary care practitioners' views and experiences in managing patients with CLBP.
Study design: A qualitative approach was employed using focus group discussions (FGD) at an academic primary care clinic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Twenty-three primary care doctors were purposively selected. Data were collected through audio-recorded interviews, which were transcribed verbatim and checked for accuracy. Data saturation was reached by the third FGD. An additional FGD was included to ensure completeness. A thematic approach using the one sheet of paper (OSOP) method was used to analyse the data.
Results: Participants view managing patients with CLBP as challenging. This is mainly due to the difficulty in balancing the doctors' expectations with the patients' perceived expectations during consultation. Barriers identified include lack of awareness and conflicting views regarding the usefulness of the local clinical practice guideline (CPG) in clinical practice. Other barriers include time constraints and perceived lack of support from multidisciplinary teams in managing these patients.
Conclusion: Managing patients with CLBP is still a challenge for Malaysian primary care doctors. Any intervention should target identified barriers to improve the management of patients with CLBP.