OBJECTIVES: To examine the relationship between individual and work-related psychosocial factors and low back pain (LBP) and associated time off work in an occupational cohort.
METHODS: A self-administered questionnaire was completed by nurses working across 3 major public hospitals. Participants provided sociodemographic data and information on the occurrence of LBP, time off work, and psychosocial factors.
RESULTS: One thousand one hundred eleven participants (response rate 38.6%) were included in the study. Fifty-six percent of participants reported LBP in the previous year. When individual psychosocial factors were examined in the same model, the relationship between somatization and LBP persisted (OR 1.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.35, 2.01). Low job security was also significantly associated with LBP independent of the other work-related factors (OR 0.82; 95% CI, 0.69, 0.98). Of those participants with LBP, 30% reported absence from work due to LBP. When absence from work was examined, negative beliefs (OR 0.97; 95% CI, 0.94, 1.00) and pain catastrophizing (OR 1.33; 95% CI, 1.04, 1.71) were independently associated with time off work, along with low job satisfaction (OR 0.71; 95% CI, 0.51, 0.97) and high job support (OR 1.35; 95% CI, 1.04, 1.75).
CONCLUSIONS: Somatization and low job security were found to be independently associated with occupational LBP, whereas negative beliefs, pain catastrophizing, reduced job satisfaction, and high job support were independently related to time off work. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine whether these individual and work-related psychosocial factors predict, or alternatively, are outcomes of pain and time off work associated with LBP.
The prevalence of neuropathic low back pain differs in different ethnic populations. The aims of the study are to determine its frequency and associations in a multi-ethnic cohort of Asian low back pain patients. This was a cross-sectional study of low back patients seen at the University of Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Neuropathic low back pain patients were identified using the painDETECT questionnaire and compared with non-neuropathic (unclear or nociceptive) low back pain patients, in terms of socio-demographic and clinical factors, pain severity (numerical pain rating scale, NPRS), disability (Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire, RMDQ), as well as anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, HADS). Of 210 patients, 26 (12.4%) have neuropathic low back pain. Neuropathic pain is associated with non-Chinese ethnicity, higher body mass index and pain radiation below the knee. Patients with neuropathic pain have significantly higher NPRS and RMDQ scores, and there are more subjects with anxiety on HADS. However, there are no differences between the groups in age, gender, pain duration or underlying diagnosis of low back pain. The prevalence of neuropathic low back pain in a multi-ethnic Malaysian cohort is lower than previously reported in other populations with possible differences between ethnic groups. It is associated with greater pain severity, disability and anxiety.
To determine the risk factors associated with complain of low back pain. A cross sectional study was done from June 2004 until August 2005. Seven hundred and sixty commercial vehicle drivers from 11 bus companies in central, northern and eastern regions in Malaysia participated in this study. Modified Nordic questionnaire was used to determine the prevalence of low back pain; Maestro human vibration meter was used to measure the personal R.M.S values of lateral, anterior-posterior and vertical axes. Modified Owas was used to assess the awkward posture of the driver torso namely, bending forward movement, leaning, sitting straight and twisting. Profile of Mood States (POMS) was used to evaluate the mood states of bus drivers with complain of low back pain. A high prevalence of low back pain (60.4%) among Malaysian commercial vehicle drivers was found. Logistic regression analysis controlling for age, income, education level and non occupational activities revealed that the following factors were related to low back pain: Tension-anxiety [1.080, 95% CI 1.041-1.121], depression dejection [1.047, 95% CI 1.023-1.072], anger-hostility [1.053, 95% CI 1.027-1.081], fatigue [1.132, 95% CI 1.089-1.177] and confusion [1.114, 95% CI 1.061-1.169] of POMS, length of employment [1.001, 95% CI 1.0-1.003], steering wheel adjustment [1.521, 95% CI 1.101-2.101], perception of exposing to vibration [1.943, 95% CI 1.389-2.719]. In conclusion, combinations of risks lead to high increase of low back pain complain among Malaysian bus drivers.