Association between sitting and occupational low back pain (lbp)

Katia M. Black, Angela Lis, Margareta Nordin


Low Back Pain (LBP) has been identified as one of the most costly disorders among the worldwide working population. Sitting has been associated with the risk for having LBP10,20,35,55. The purpose of this literature review is to assemble and describe evidence of research about the association between sitting and the presence of LBP. The literature review was restricted to those occupations that require sitting for more than 50% of their working time and where the workers have physical co-exposure factors such as whole body vibration (WBV) and/or awkward postures. Fifteen studies were carefully selected and critically reviewed, and a model developed that describes the relationships between these factors. Results: The occupational group that showed the strongest association with LBP was Helicopter Pilots (OR = 9.0, 90% C.I = 4.9 -16.4). For all occupations, the odds ratio (OR) increased when WBV and/or awkward postures were analyzed as co-exposure factors. Exposure duration of vibration was associated with LBP to a greater extent than vibration magnitude. Awkward posture was also associated with the presence of LBP. The risk effect of prolonged sitting increased significantly when the factors of WBV and awkward postures were combined. Conclusions: Sitting by itself does not demonstrate an impressive risk association with LBP. However, sitting in combination with whole body vibration and/or awkward postures does increase the association with the presence of LBP.

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