Publications & Reports

Low back pain in rural Tibet.

Hoy D, Toole MJ, Morgan D, Morgan C
Burnet Institute, Centre for International Health, PO Box 2284, Victoria 3001, Melbourne, Australia. [email protected]


In a baseline assessment of 30 rural villages surrounding Shigatse City, Tibet, many people, especially women, identified low back pain as a serious health problem.

Consequently, we aimed to establish the prevalence of such pain and to develop appropriate interventions.

We did a cross-sectional study of the prevalence of low back pain and related functional disability using two-stage random cluster sampling. We included 499 adults aged at least 15 years from 19 villages. The point prevalence of low back pain was 34.1% (95% CI 27.9-40.3% [170 people]); the 12-month prevalence was 41.9% (35.5-48.3% [209 people]). 100 (20%) villagers had substantial functional disability associated with low back pain.

Low back pain is likely to be an important and under recognised problem in rural societies like Tibet.


  • Journal: Lancet
  • Published: 18/01/2003
  • Volume: 361
  • Issue: 9353
  • Pagination: 225-226