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Work-related psychosocial and mechanical risk factors for low back pain: a 3-year follow-up study of the general working population in Norway

Aims: This study examines the impact of work-related psychosocial and mechanical exposure on the development of low back pain (LBP) in the general working population. Methods: A randomly drawn cohort from the general population in Norway aged 18–66 years was followed up for 3 years (n=12 550, response rate at baseline=67%). Eligible respondents were in paid work during a reference week in 2006 and 2009, or temporarily absent from such work (n=6745). Five work-related psychosocial factors and seven mechanical exposures were measured. Outcomes of interest were moderate or severe LBP at follow-up adjusted for baseline LBP. Results: In total, 12.8% (861 individuals) reported LBP during the last month at follow-up. Work-related psychosocial predictors of LBP were high job demands (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.16 to 1.72) and low job control (OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.57). Mechanical factors were prolonged standing (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.83), awkward lifting (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.28 to 1.88) and squatting/kneeling (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.61). The estimated population risk attributable to these factors was approximately 42%. The risk for LBP associated with psychosocial exposure was not influenced by adjustment for mechanical risk factors, and vice versa. There was no substantial...

Sterud, Tom; Tynes, Tore
Occupational and Environmental Medicine BMJ Publishing Group, Occupational and Environmental Medicine 70(5): 296–302
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