Background: Occupational related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a major public health problem and result in the growing demands of healthcare service utilization, causing temporary and permanent disability and reduced quality of life. In developing countries, particularly in Ethiopia, there is no adequate evidence on the overall prevalence of occupational-related MSDs and remains less prioritized and empirically unrepresented. Thus, this study aimed to determine the pooled prevalence of occupational-related musculoskeletal disorders, particularly low and upper back musculoskeletal disorders in Ethiopia.
Methods: This systematic review and meta-analysis considered studies conducted in Ethiopia, written in the English language, and published from 2017-2020. The articles were searched using the following electronic databases such as Web of Science, SCOPUS, PubMed, Google Scholar, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, African Index Medicus, African Journals Online database, and Science direct using a combination of Boolean logic operators, Medical Subject Headings, and main keywords. Quality assessment of the articles was done using the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal tools to determine the relevance of articles to the study.
Results: The current study found the pooled prevalence of occupational-related upper back pain and low back pain in the previous one year was 27.1% [95% of CI: 18.4, 37.9%] and 54.2% [95% of CI: 48.2, 60.0%] respectively. However, the pooled prevalence of occupational-related upper back pain in the previous one year after subgroup analysis based on publication year, study population, and study area was 43.8% [95% of CI: 39.3, 47.7%], 34.7%[95% of CI: 33.1, 36.2%] and 36.2% [95% of CI: 33.6, 39.0%] respectively while the pooled prevalence of occupational-related low back pain in previous one year based on subgroup analysis by publication year, study population, and study area was 61.8% [95% of CI: 58.9, 64.6%], 52.8% [95% of CI: 51.3, 54.3%] and 55.2% [95% of CI: 51.4, 59.0%] respectively.
Conclusion: This systematic review and meta-analysis found that, more than half of the included study participants were experienced low back pain in the previous year, whereas more than one-fourth of the included participants were experienced upper back pain. Thus, applying occupational health and safety practices in the working environment plays an important role in reducing work-related MSDs and other occupational hazards.