Psycho-behavioural risks of low back pain in railway workers

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Abstract

Background

Low back pain (LBP) is the most costly ailment in the work force. Risky work behaviour and psychological stress are established risk factors.

Aims

To explore the associations between workplace risk factors, psychological stress and LBP among Malaysian railway workers.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was carried out on railway workers in Malaysia. Socio-demographics, workplace risk factors for LBP, perceived psychological stress and history of LBP over the previous month were obtained by direct interviews using a structured closed-ended questionnaire. Descriptive, bivariate and logistic regression analyses were conducted.

Results

There were 513 study participants (70% response rate). The prevalence of LBP in the previous month was 69%. Multivariate analysis yielded four significant predictors of LBP: employment of ≥10 years, lifting and lowering heavy loads, prolonged standing posture and psychological stress.

Conclusions

The high prevalence of LBP and its significant associations with physical and psychological stress factors in railway workers points to an urgent need for preventive measures, particularly among workers in high-risk occupations.

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