The main purpose of the study was to assess the prevalence, body distributions and factors associated with musculoskeletal pain (MSP) among medical students in a private Malaysian medical college.
This cross-sectional study was conducted among 232 medical students in a private medical college using an online questionnaire. The questionnaire was a modified Standardized Nordic Questionnaire focused on neck, shoulder and low back pain in the past week and the past year.
Two hundred and thirty two medical students responded to the questionnaire out of 642. Mean age was 20.7 ± 2.1 years. The majority were female (62.9%), Malay (80.6%) and in the preclinical years (72%). One hundred and six (45.7%) of all students had at least one site of MSP in the past week and 151 (65.1%) had at least one site of MSP in the past year. MSP in the past week was associated significantly with the academic year, (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.15-3.67, P = 0.015), history of trauma (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.2-5.3, P = 0.011), family history of MSP (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-3.9, P = 0.023) and Body Mass Index (BMI) (P = 0.028). MSP in the past year was significantly associated with computer use (P = 0.027), daily hours of computer use (median ± IQR (5.0 ±3.0), history of trauma (OR 7.5, 95% CI 2.24-2.56, P < 0.01) and family history of MSP (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.31-4.90, P = 0.006). On multivariate analysis, factors associated with MSP during the past week were a family history of MSP (p = 0.029) and BMI (p = 0.03). Factors associated with MSP during the past year were being in clinical years (p = 0.002, computer use (p = 0.038), and a history of trauma (p = 0.030).
MSP among medical students was relatively high, thus, further clinical assessment is needed in depth study of ergonomics. The study results indicate that medical school authorities should take measures to prevent MSP due to factors related to medical school. Students should make aware of importance of weight reduction to reduce MSP.