Quebec Serve and Protect Low Back Pain Study: A Web-based Cross-sectional Investigation of Prevalence and Functional Impact Among Police Officers

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Study Design.

Web-based cross-sectional study.


The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence and the burden of low back pain (LBP) and chronic low back pain (CLBP) among Quebec police officers.

Summary of Background Data.

Police officers have work-related factors associated with LBP, but chronicity and impacts of this condition have been little explored among this population.


Between May and October 2014, a web-based cross-sectional study was conducted among police officers working in the province of Quebec (Canada). Nine police organizations accepted to disseminate the email invitation to their members. The survey included the French-Canadian version of the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire and other items regarding functional impact of LBP and associated treatments.


A total of 3589 police officers completed the questionnaire. Mean age was 38.5 ± 8.7 years, 32.0% were women, and 67.4% reported being car-patrol officers. A majority reported LBP symptoms in the past 12 months (67.7%) and 96.5% of them perceived that presence of LBP was totally/partially linked to their work in the police force. Prevalence of CLBP among all responders was 28.7%. Police officers reporting CLBP, as compared to those reporting acute or subacute LBP symptoms in the past 12 months, were more likely to report LBP-related reduction of work activities (64.4% vs. 45.7%; P < 0.001) and more working days lost in the past 12 months (average of 11.9 ± 43.5 vs. 1.5 ± 9.8; P < 0.001). A greater proportion also reported LBP-related health care visits in the past 12 months (86.2% vs. 64.2%; P < 0.001) and current use of pain medications/complementary alternative medicines (90.1% vs. 69.7%; P < 0.001).


CLBP is a frequent and burdensome condition among Quebec police officers. Our results underline the importance for police organizations to promote CLBP prevention and to implement workplace management programs.


Level of Evidence: 3

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