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Title: An epidemiological investigation into low back pain in schoolteachers within the Greater Tzaneen Municipality in Limpopo, South Africa
Authors: Prinsloo, Imé Mari 
Keywords: Low back pain (LBP);Schoolteachers back pain
Issue Date: 29-Sep-2022
Background: Low back pain (LBP) is a common and significant disease found in the entire population
but increased among the working population. Studies have shown that prevalence among LBP in
schoolteachers are increased, yet there has been limited studies looking at urban and rural
schoolteachers simultaneously.
Objectives: To determine the incidence and lifetime prevalence of low back pain among schoolteachers
within the Greater Tzaneen Municipality, South Africa; to determine the risk factors (in terms of
demographics, lifestyle, and occupational factors) of developing LBP; and to determine the management
strategies sufferers of LBP use to get relief.
Methods: This was a quantitative, descriptive, cross-sectional study conducted within schools of the
Greater Tzaneen Municipality. Teachers working in both the urban and rural school setting were
approached to partake in the study. Those who met the criteria were invited to complete the selfadministered questionnaires, online or hard copies. In total 345 questionnaires were completed.
Results: Of the 345 completed questionnaires 67% reported having LBP. Significant associations were
made between the prevalence of LBP and increased mental stress (51.5%). Similarly, LBP sufferers
had a higher BMI (p=.010); have been teaching for longer, (p=.049); and spend more time working at a
computer, p<.001. Aggravating factors of LBP included bending/twisting the body, lack of sleep,
reaching overhead, sitting, standing, and stress/tension. The strongest corresponding factor being
stress and tension (p<.001).
Conclusion: In this specific community there was no significant difference in prevalence of LBP
between urban and rural schoolteacher. Notwithstanding previous research, this study highlights that
global statistics is not always appropriate in South African context. This draws attention to the need for
research specifically based on our diverse country.
Dissertation submitted in partial compliance with the requirements for the Master of Health Science:
Chiropractic, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2022.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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