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Prevalence of spinal pain and headache amongst 16-17-year old students attending Malakoff Advanced Level School in Moss, Norway: A cross sectional study.

Marit Jansen Sundmoen, 2016


Background: Musculoskeletal issues are very common and costly complaints in the Norwegian society. Problems that start at an early age is likely to continue throughout adulthood. It is therefore important to investigate the extent of the problem to be able to deal with these issues at an early age to help prevent further exacerbation.


Objectives: This study intended to investigate the prevalence of spinal pain and headaches amongst students attending their first year at Malakoff School, and to see whether there is any association between the pain and gender and BMI.


Study design and setting: This study was a cross sectional observational study conducted at Malakoff Advanced Level School in Moss, Norway.


Methods: A questionnaire of 9 questions were distributed to 219 first year students at Malakoff School. Inclusion criteria were that the students were first year students and 16 or 17 years of age. There were no exclusion criteria.


Results: 206 participants were included in the data analysis, 44% female. The point prevalence for any pain was 55% with the distribution being 27% headache, 26% NP, 14% MBP and 24% LBP. The 1-month prevalence for any pain was 83% with the distribution being 51%, 43%, 25% and 42% respectively. During the 1-month period prevalence half of the subjects had pain in >1 of the different areas.


50% had pain on a daily or weekly basis with an average of 4.8 points on the NRS scale. There was no association between pain and BMI. Females were 3.5 times more likely to report pain. 12% had not participated in PE, 18% reported school absenteeism.


Conclusion: Spinal pain and headaches are common complaints among 16-17 year olds at Malakoff School. Although there was a high prevalence of pain, the pain did not seem to alter daily participation in school activities for the students.

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