Previous investigations on the epidemiology of neck pain in South Africa were limited to the
White and Black populations to the exclusion of Indians. Thus the purpose of this study was
to create a profile of neck pain and provide an overview of risk factors with particular interest
to the Indian population.
These included the investigation of neck pain prevalence, neck pain clinical characteristics
and risk factors for neck pain in the Indian population in the greater Durban area.
The first criterion for sample selection the establishment of suburbs within the greater Durban
area. Secondly the three most densely populated Indian suburbs were chosen and ranked
according to income potential, to ensure a balanced sample. An equal number of residents in
each suburb were targeted, with a minimum of 600 respondents. Statistical Program for the
Social Sciences (SPSS) version 15.0 was used to analyse the data.
The demographics indicated that the respondents were predominantly matriculated (40.3%),
married (57.9%), men (55.7%) of active (94%) Hindu or Christian religion (43%) with a mean
age of 36.7 years and a BMI of 24.8 kg/m2. The prevalence of neck pain was 36.83%, with
an annual incidence of 28.83%. Original neck pain lasted 8.56 years with a Numerical Rating
Scale reading of 4.97. The seldom experienced pain was affected by lifting, sleeping and
concentration. In contrast recent neck pain lasted 50.4 days with a Numerical Rating Scale
reading of 4.02. The more frequently experienced pain was equally affected by sleeping and
lifting. Common risk factors identified for neck pain generally were stress, cycling, favouring
one side when carrying a heavy object and suffering from headaches, shoulder pain and / or
back pain. The findings of this study supported previous studies, although there were some
significant differences. These included males having had a higher prevalence (55.7%) than
females (44.3%), as well as watching television being a preventative factor to neck pain.
Conclusions and Recommendations:
Thus the prevalence and risk factors of neck pain in the Indian population were comparable
to international norms. It was however noted that stratified gender sampling should perhaps
have been utilised to strengthen this study and causality of factors in relation to neck pain
could not be determined. Both these limitations allow for future research opportunities.||en_US