WCPT Africa Region Conference System, 9th WCPT Africa Region Congress

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Mukaruzima Lela, Frantz Josee

Last modified: 2012-02-07





The main purpose of the study was to determine if a relationship exists between low back pain and physical activity among nurses at Rwanda Military Hospital (RMH). Secondary to that, the study also aimed at determining the prevalence of LBP as well as the physical activity levels of nurses at RMH.



Low back pain as one of the main neuro-musculo-skeletal disorders managed by physiotherapists is also a global wide spread health problem. Besides treatment, its prevention is of paramount importance to an individual as well as to a nation. Being physically active has been found to be an effective means of management and prevention of LBP, as well as other non-communicable diseases.


A total of 159 clinical nurses from Rwanda Military Hospital participated in the study. All nurses, male and female who on a day to day basis perform clinical work on different wards in the hospital were eligible to participate in the study. They were aged between 18-60 years and having at least a one year working experience.




The study was conducted using a cross-sectional and descriptive design at Rwanda Military hospital. Three self administered questionnaires were used (socio-demographic data questionnaire, International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and the Nordic Musculoskeletal Disorder Questionnaire).




Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 18.0. Descriptive statistics were employed to summarize the demographic data of the study sample, which were also presented using frequency tables and expressed as percentages, means and standard deviations. Chi-square test was used to determine if any associations exist between low back pain and physical activity as well as the socio-demographic variables. All tests were done at the level of significance P≤ 0.05. Logistic regression was used to determine the correlation between low back pain and the related factors.




Of all the distributed questionnaires, 122 were fully completed and returned, thus a response rate of 92%. More than three quarters of the participants had low back pain (78%). Female nurses were more affected as compared to their male counterparts (84%). Low back pain was significantly associated with gender (P=0.001) and marital status (P=0.020). Other Findings of the study were higher job-related physical activity (84%) and lower leisure-time physical activity (5%) among nurses. Significantly associated with physical activity were age (P=0.033), marital status (P=0.001) and working experience (P=0.026) of nurses. However, the study lacked a significant relationship between physical activity and low back pain (P=0.118).




Although the current study showed no significant relationship between low back pain and physical activity, participation in leisure-time physical activities should be promoted among RMH nurses and the rest of the staff as they would greatly benefit from them.




Results of this study will hopefully be useful to the hospital in terms or risk prevention and also contribute to the scanty data in Africa about low back pain and physical activity participation among nurses for future research.


Key words


Nurses, Low back pain & physical activity


Funding Source Acknowledgement


I would like to appreciate the Rwandan government through the Students’ Financing Agency of Rwanda (SFAR) as well as to the management of Rwanda Military hospital for making this research project a reality. Last but not least, special thanks go to all the participants who willingly participated in this study.



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