Pain in the Back “Quite Common” in KZN - Research Finds
Just over 18% of people in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) suffer from chronic lower back pain, according to a doctoral study.
The research done by Zimbabwean chiropractor Dr Morris Kahere, who graduated with a PhD in Public Health, found the prevalence in women (19.8%) was higher than that of men (15.85%).
Kahere’s study examined the burden of non-specific chronic low back pain among adults in KZN, with estimates on prevalence, risk factors, economic burden, and barriers to care.
Risk factors identified include work-related injuries, poor ergonomic posture and psychosocial well-being.
‘Several barriers were identified, including delayed care due to shortage of skilled personnel, which resulted in long waiting times,’ said Kahere. ‘The management of chronic low back pain was found to be poor in primary healthcare because the healthcare system was designed to deal with communicable diseases while non-communicable diseases were managed only at a referral level which was not easily accessible by everyone. Recommendation was given to ensure a change of emphasis from a pro-communicable disease focus to ensuring a sufficient allocation of healthcare resources towards non-communicable diseases control.’
He said his study experience at UKZN was rewarding. ‘I received great supervision, with a lot of engagement with fellow students, university-organised workshops, retreats, seminars, and conferences which made my PhD journey interesting.’
Kahere is more than happy about his accomplishment. ‘I am looking forward to embarking on full-time research contributing significantly to the community of public health with more emphasis on global health and sustainability.
‘I wanted to be involved with Public Health initiatives particularly as they relate to musculoskeletal health. There are three areas within public health that have been identified and call for intense professional focus: healthy ageing, opioid misuse, and the health of women, children, and adolescents.
‘The World Federation of Chiropractic aims to enable chiropractors to proactively participate in health promotion and prevention activities in these areas, through information dissemination and co-ordinated partnerships,’ he said. ‘This will align the chiropractic profession with the priorities of the World Health Organization. Successful engagement will support the role of chiropractors as valued partners within the broader healthcare system and contribute to the health and well-being of the community they serve.’
Kahere, currently working as a chiropractor in England, says he is looking forward to using chiropractic as a tool to help address the opioid misuse crisis by providing safe and effective non-pharmacological care.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini
Photograph: Sandile Ndlovu