Does Daily Exposure to Whole-Body Vibration and Mechanical Shock Relate to the Prevalence of Low Back and Neck Pain in a Rural Workforce?

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Objectives: To determine whether whole-body vibration (WBV) and mechanical shock exposure from quad bike use are associated with the prevalence of neck and low back pain (LBP) in New Zealand farmers and rural workers.

Methods: Full-day WBV and mechanical shock exposures were gathered from 130 farmers and rural workers. Participants were surveyed for a history of neck or LBP in the past 7 days and in the past 12 months. Anthropometric, personal, and workplace data were also gathered.

Results: Physical exposures (mechanical shocks), employee status, and low levels of workplace satisfaction are all significantly associated with the 12-month prevalence of LBP in this rural workforce that regularly use quad bikes. Both vibration and mechanical shock exposure were strongly associated with 12-month prevalence of neck pain. The 7-day prevalence of neck pain showed a non-significant association with mechanical shock and vibration.

Conclusions: Knowledge of these findings will be valuable information for those who teach and advise on safe driving techniques for such vehicles in the rural workplace where reduction of physical exposures and injury rates is of high importance.

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