The Burden of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region: a Longitudinal Analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Dataset 1990-2019

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders


BACKGROUND: Musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders are one of the main causes of disability among adults globally. The burden of MSK disorders varies greatly between different regions and is the highest in low- and middle income- countries. This study sought to investigate trends in the burden of MSK disorders across the MENA region, utilizing the GBD 2019 dataset.

METHODS: This ecological study utilized data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) to report on the burden of musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders in The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region between 1990 and 2019. Our analysis involved descriptive statistics and sociodemographic trends and did not employ any specific statistical analyses. Using age-standardized rates of prevalence and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), we reported trends in the burden of MSK disorders, as well as national variation between different countries. Furthermore, we analyzed trends in risk factors contributing to MSK disorders by age and gender.

RESULTS: The longitudinal analysis from 1990 to 2019 showed an increase in the age-standardized rate for prevalence and DALYs of MSK disorders by 5% and 4.80%, respectively. Low back pain continued to be the most prevalent MSK condition, while RA and other MSK disorders had the largest percentage increase for DALYs between 1990 and 2019. The study found that Afghanistan had the lowest age standardized DALYs rate attributed to MSK disorders, while Iran, Turkey, and Jordan had the highest. Further, Syria showed the most dramatic decrease while Saudi Arabia had the most notable increase in age standardized DALY rates from 1990 to 2019. In 2019, occupational risks, high body mass index, and tobacco smoking were the main risk factors for MSK disorders, with occupational risks being the largest contributor, and between 1990 and 2019, there was a decrease in the contribution of occupational risks but an increase in the contribution of high body mass index as a risk factor.

CONCLUSION: This study highlights the significant burden of MSK disorders in the MENA region, with various risk factors contributing to its increasing prevalence in recent decades. Further research is needed to better understand the underlying factors and potential interventions that could improve health outcomes. Addressing MSK disorders should be a public health priority in the region, and efforts should be made to develop effective strategies to prevent and manage this debilitating condition.