Low back pain among textile workers: a cross-sectional study

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Abstract

Background

Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most prevalent occupational health problems in industrialized countries. Little is known about the epidemiology of LBP in developing countries.

Aims

To determine the prevalence of LBP among Nepalese textile workers and to investigate the influence of exposure to mechanical and other factors on LBP reporting.

Methods

Interviewers completed questionnaires with study subjects, and work-related mechanical exposures were measured by self-completed questionnaires. Associations of LBP with mechanical factors and somatic symptoms were determined by logistic regression and reported as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Results

Nine hundred and thirty-eight workers took part, a participation rate of 92%. The 1 month period prevalence of LBP was 35% (n = 324), being higher in females than males (45% versus 28%; P < 0.001). Several work-related mechanical factors were associated with increased odds of reporting LBP: lifting heavy weights with one hand (OR 1.7; 95% CI 1.1–2.8), pushing weights (OR 1.6; 95% CI 1.2–2.3 and pulling weights (OR 1.6; 95% CI 1.1–2.1). No association was found with working posture. Strong associations were found for reporting one (OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.7–3.4) or two somatic symptoms (OR 2.7; 95% CI 1.4–5.1). On multivariable analysis, reporting of somatic symptoms (OR 2.8; 95% CI 1.5–5.4), female gender (OR 2.2; 95% CI 1.5–3.1) and increasing age were significantly associated with increased risk of reporting LBP (OR 1.7; 95% CI 1.2–2.5), but no associations were found with mechanical factors.

Conclusions

This study suggests that mechanical load may not be the leading cause of LBP and adds to evidence that psychological factors play an important role in LBP in non-industrialized countries.

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