Biomechanical factors likely play large role in risk for low back pain


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Results of a survey to determine the cause of low back pain in French male employees demonstrated that biomechanical factors can play a larger role in the origination of pain than factors such as psychosocial, organizational and individual causes.

Two surveys, one in 2002 and another in 2007, were administered to working men from various regions of France. A total of 2,161 individuals participated in the first survey, and 1,313 of the individuals participated in the second survey. Among the individuals who participated in the second survey, 394 (30%) reported low back pain.

The first survey assessed 21 biomechanical, organizational, psychosocial and individual factors, whereas the second survey studied the association between these factors and the later development of low back pain.

Following the second survey, a multivariate model revealed four factors were the most closely associated with low back pain: frequent bending, driving industrial vehicles, working more hours than officially planned and low support from supervisors.

Bending for more than 2 hours a day resulted in the most back pain, with bending forward and sideways being more prevalent than just bending forward, according to the researchers. Nearly 60% of the low back pain sufferers had occupations described as blue collar.

The researchers concluded that, even when taking individuals’ psychosocial factors into account, biomechanical factors such as frequent bending are important to consider when determining preventive strategies.

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