High Impact Publications 2022-03
Secular Trends in Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Needs in 191 Countries and Territories From 1990 to 2019
AMA Network Open. Jan; 5(1): e2144198. 2022
Chen N., Fong D.Y.T.*, Wong J.Y.H.
It is hard for policy makers and health professionals to develop musculoskeletal rehabilitation strategies because secular trends for musculoskeletal rehabilitation by region and country remain unknown.
To evaluate the secular trends in global musculoskeletal rehabilitation needs by sex, age, region, country, and health condition.
Design, setting, and participants
This cross-sectional study included data from 191 countries and territories from the World Health Organization Rehabilitation Need Estimator between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 2019. Data analyses were performed from February to May 2021.
Main outcomes and measures
Prevalence and years lived with disability (YLDs) of musculoskeletal disorders in need of rehabilitation, overall and by sex, age, region, country, and health condition. Trends in rehabilitation needs were evaluated by the estimated annual percentage changes (EAPCs) in age-standardized rates. Pearson correlation analysis was used to examine the associations between EAPCs and the age-standardized rates in 1990. The associations between the age-standardized rates and universal health coverage (UHC) effective coverage index were assessed by fitting a restricted cubic spline in a linear model.
From 1990 to 2019, the global number of prevalent cases of musculoskeletal disorders in need of rehabilitation increased from 1060.6 (95% uncertainty interval [UI], 1009.1-1116.4) million to 1713.6 (95% UI, 1632.4-1800.4) million, with a steady increase in the number of YLDs from 93.9 (95% UI, 67.7-123.6) million to 149.0 (95% UI, 107.5-198.6) million. Overall, 55 countries and territories (28.8%) had annual increase in age-standardized prevalence rates, and 18 countries and territories (9.4%) had annual increase in YLD rates. The global age-standardized prevalence and YLD rates of musculoskeletal disorders decreased annually with EAPCs of 0.34 (95% CI, -0.37 to -0.31) and 0.42 (95% CI, -0.51 to -0.32), respectively. Specifically, the global age-standardized prevalence and YLD rates decreased for low back pain (prevalence: EAPC, -0.52; 95% CI, -0.57 to -0.47; YLD: EAPC, -0.52; 95% CI, -0.66 to -0.37), fractures (prevalence: EAPC, -0.35; 95% CI, -0.41 to -0.30; YLD: EAPC, -0.42; 95% CI, -0.65 to -0.19), other injuries (prevalence: EAPC, -0.75; 95% CI, -0.82 to -0.68; YLD: EAPC, -1.04; 95% CI, -1.38 to -0.71), and amputation (prevalence: EAPC, -0.64; 95% CI, -0.73 to -0.55; YLD: EAPC, -1.13; 95% CI, -1.60 to -0.65). The age-standardized prevalence rate decreased for neck pain (EAPC, -0.10; 95% CI, -0.18 to -0.02) but increased for osteoarthritis (EAPC, 0.13; 95% CI, 0.06-0.19) and rheumatoid arthritis (EAPC, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.04-0.70). In contrast, the age-standardized YLD rates remained stable for neck pain (EAPC, -0.09; 95% CI, -0.35 to 0.16),osteoarthritis (EAPC, 0.14; 95% CI, -0.14 to 0.42), and rheumatoid arthritis (EAPC, 0.38; 95% CI, -0.40 to 1.16). The age-standardized prevalence rate of neck pain decreased faster in male individuals, with an EAPC of -0.10 (95% CI, -0.19 to -0.02), while the age-standardized prevalence rate of low back pain decreased faster in female individuals, with an EAPC of -0.55 (95% CI, -0.60 to -0.51). EAPCs were significantly associated with the baseline age-standardized rates (prevalence: ρ = -0.49; P < .001; YLD: ρ = -0.55; P < .001), except for those of neck pain and rheumatoid arthritis. Excess rehabilitation needs were observed in countries with both higher and lower UHC effective coverage indexes (prevalence: β = 749.04; SE, 288.52; P = .01; YLD: β = 49.70; SE, 22.89; P = .03).
Conclusions and relevance
In this cross-sectional study, substantial increases in musculoskeletal rehabilitation needs were found across locations, suggesting rehabilitation needs have become a global health concern. Mitigating risk factors, strengthening rehabilitation in primary health care, and allocating sufficient funds are encouraged to satisfy rehabilitation needs.