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The role of spinal flexibility in back pain complaints within industry. A prospective study.
Battie MC; Bigos SJ; Fisher LD; Spengler DM; Hansson TH; Nachemson AL; Wortley MD
Spine 1990 Aug; 15(8):768-773
A study of the role of spinal flexibility in back pain complaints in industrial workers was conducted. The study group consisted of 3020 hourly workers (2350 males), 21 through 67 years old, employed at a Boeing company aircraft manufacturing facility. Spinal flexibility was evaluated by using the modified Schober test and sit and reach, lateral bending, and shoulder lift measurements. Subjects completed a questionnaire to obtain information on back problems they experienced during the preceding 10 years. They were followed for at least 4 years for subjective reports of back pain. A total of 279 subjects reported back problems during the followup period. Subjects who reported back problems tended to be slightly younger than those who did not experience back problems. The incidence of back pain reports did not differ significantly between males and females. None of the flexibility measurements were significantly predictive of future back pain. Subjects with a history of back problems for which medical treatment was sought had slightly, significantly less flexibility by all measures except on the modified Schober test in females than those without a history of back problems. The absolute differences were very small, ranging from 1 millimeter to 2.7 centimeters. The authors conclude that spinal flexibility is of no value in predicting future back problems in the work place. Flexibility measurements appear to reflect past back problems.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Back-injuries; Epidemiology; Biomechanics; Body-mechanics; Industrial-factory-workers; Risk-analysis; Musculoskeletal-system
Orthopaedics University of Washington Department of Orthopaedics Seattle, Wash 98195
Issue of Publication
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Page last reviewed: February 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division