Risk factors for new-onset low back pain amongst cohorts of newly employed workers

E. F. Harkness, Gary John MacFarlane, E. Nahit, A. J. Silman, J. McBeth

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

111 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives. To test the hypothesis that work-related mechanical, psychosocial and physical environment factors would predict new-onset low back pain (LBP) in newly employed workers.

Methods. A total of 1186 newly employed workers were recruited from a variety of occupational settings. Those who were free from LBP at baseline were identified. Subjects were followed up at 12 and 24 months. Work-related mechanical, psychosocial and physical environment exposures were measured. Generalized estimating equations were used to assess predictors of new-onset LBP.

Results. New-onset LBP was reported by 119 (19%) and 81 (19%) subjects at 12 and 24 months, respectively. Several work-related mechanical exposures predicted new-onset LBP including lifting heavy weights with one or two hands, lifting heavy weights at or above shoulder level, pulling heavy weights, kneeling or squatting for 15 min or longer. Of the psychosocial factors examined, stressful and monotonous work significantly predicted symptom onset. In addition, hot working conditions and pain at other sites also predicted new-onset LBP. On multivariate analysis these risks were only moderately attenuated but the 95% confidence intervals excluded unity only for the latter, non-mechanical, exposures.

Conclusion. In this cohort of newly employed workers, from a range of occupations, several aspects of the work-place environment, other than mechanical factors, were important in predicting new-onset LBP. These results emphasize that interventions aimed at reducing the occurrence of LBP are likely to be most successful if they intervene across these domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-968
Number of pages9
JournalRheumatology
Volume42
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • low back pain
  • work-related factors
  • healthy worker effect
  • new workers
  • REGIONAL MUSCULOSKELETAL PAIN
  • PSYCHOSOCIAL FACTORS
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL-FACTORS
  • DISABILITY
  • QUESTIONNAIRE
  • PREVENTION
  • DISORDERS
  • DEMANDS
  • STRAIN

Cite this

Risk factors for new-onset low back pain amongst cohorts of newly employed workers. / Harkness, E. F.; MacFarlane, Gary John; Nahit, E.; Silman, A. J.; McBeth, J.

In: Rheumatology, Vol. 42, 2003, p. 959-968.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

Harkness, E. F. ; MacFarlane, Gary John ; Nahit, E. ; Silman, A. J. ; McBeth, J. / Risk factors for new-onset low back pain amongst cohorts of newly employed workers. In: Rheumatology. 2003 ; Vol. 42. pp. 959-968.
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abstract = "Objectives. To test the hypothesis that work-related mechanical, psychosocial and physical environment factors would predict new-onset low back pain (LBP) in newly employed workers.Methods. A total of 1186 newly employed workers were recruited from a variety of occupational settings. Those who were free from LBP at baseline were identified. Subjects were followed up at 12 and 24 months. Work-related mechanical, psychosocial and physical environment exposures were measured. Generalized estimating equations were used to assess predictors of new-onset LBP.Results. New-onset LBP was reported by 119 (19{\%}) and 81 (19{\%}) subjects at 12 and 24 months, respectively. Several work-related mechanical exposures predicted new-onset LBP including lifting heavy weights with one or two hands, lifting heavy weights at or above shoulder level, pulling heavy weights, kneeling or squatting for 15 min or longer. Of the psychosocial factors examined, stressful and monotonous work significantly predicted symptom onset. In addition, hot working conditions and pain at other sites also predicted new-onset LBP. On multivariate analysis these risks were only moderately attenuated but the 95{\%} confidence intervals excluded unity only for the latter, non-mechanical, exposures.Conclusion. In this cohort of newly employed workers, from a range of occupations, several aspects of the work-place environment, other than mechanical factors, were important in predicting new-onset LBP. These results emphasize that interventions aimed at reducing the occurrence of LBP are likely to be most successful if they intervene across these domains.",
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AU - Harkness, E. F.

AU - MacFarlane, Gary John

AU - Nahit, E.

AU - Silman, A. J.

AU - McBeth, J.

PY - 2003

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N2 - Objectives. To test the hypothesis that work-related mechanical, psychosocial and physical environment factors would predict new-onset low back pain (LBP) in newly employed workers.Methods. A total of 1186 newly employed workers were recruited from a variety of occupational settings. Those who were free from LBP at baseline were identified. Subjects were followed up at 12 and 24 months. Work-related mechanical, psychosocial and physical environment exposures were measured. Generalized estimating equations were used to assess predictors of new-onset LBP.Results. New-onset LBP was reported by 119 (19%) and 81 (19%) subjects at 12 and 24 months, respectively. Several work-related mechanical exposures predicted new-onset LBP including lifting heavy weights with one or two hands, lifting heavy weights at or above shoulder level, pulling heavy weights, kneeling or squatting for 15 min or longer. Of the psychosocial factors examined, stressful and monotonous work significantly predicted symptom onset. In addition, hot working conditions and pain at other sites also predicted new-onset LBP. On multivariate analysis these risks were only moderately attenuated but the 95% confidence intervals excluded unity only for the latter, non-mechanical, exposures.Conclusion. In this cohort of newly employed workers, from a range of occupations, several aspects of the work-place environment, other than mechanical factors, were important in predicting new-onset LBP. These results emphasize that interventions aimed at reducing the occurrence of LBP are likely to be most successful if they intervene across these domains.

AB - Objectives. To test the hypothesis that work-related mechanical, psychosocial and physical environment factors would predict new-onset low back pain (LBP) in newly employed workers.Methods. A total of 1186 newly employed workers were recruited from a variety of occupational settings. Those who were free from LBP at baseline were identified. Subjects were followed up at 12 and 24 months. Work-related mechanical, psychosocial and physical environment exposures were measured. Generalized estimating equations were used to assess predictors of new-onset LBP.Results. New-onset LBP was reported by 119 (19%) and 81 (19%) subjects at 12 and 24 months, respectively. Several work-related mechanical exposures predicted new-onset LBP including lifting heavy weights with one or two hands, lifting heavy weights at or above shoulder level, pulling heavy weights, kneeling or squatting for 15 min or longer. Of the psychosocial factors examined, stressful and monotonous work significantly predicted symptom onset. In addition, hot working conditions and pain at other sites also predicted new-onset LBP. On multivariate analysis these risks were only moderately attenuated but the 95% confidence intervals excluded unity only for the latter, non-mechanical, exposures.Conclusion. In this cohort of newly employed workers, from a range of occupations, several aspects of the work-place environment, other than mechanical factors, were important in predicting new-onset LBP. These results emphasize that interventions aimed at reducing the occurrence of LBP are likely to be most successful if they intervene across these domains.

KW - low back pain

KW - work-related factors

KW - healthy worker effect

KW - new workers

KW - REGIONAL MUSCULOSKELETAL PAIN

KW - PSYCHOSOCIAL FACTORS

KW - PSYCHOLOGICAL-FACTORS

KW - DISABILITY

KW - QUESTIONNAIRE

KW - PREVENTION

KW - DISORDERS

KW - DEMANDS

KW - STRAIN

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DO - 10.1093/rheumatology/keg265

M3 - Editorial

VL - 42

SP - 959

EP - 968

JO - Rheumatology

JF - Rheumatology

SN - 1462-0324

ER -