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B-scan ultrasonic measurement of the lumbar spinal canal as a predictor of industrial back pain complaints and extended work loss.
Battie MC; Hansson T; Bigos S; Zeh J; Fisher L; Spengler D
J Occup Med 1993 Dec; 35(12):1250-1255
The ability of B-scan ultrasonographic measurements of spinal canal diameter to predict occupationally related back pain complaints and extended disability was examined. The study group consisted of 3,020 persons, 21 to 67 years old, employed at a Boeing aircraft factory in Washington State. The subjects were given a B-scan ultrasonographic examination that included measurements of spinal canal diameter. They were then followed for a mean of 3.7 years for reports of back pain utilizing company medical or safety department data and industrial insurance claims. The ultrasonographic measurements were examined as predictors of back pain. The ability of the data to predict extended work loss back injury claims was also examined. A total of 352 subjects reported back pain during the followup period. Mean spinal canal diameters were smaller for subjects filing back pain complaints than those without complaints. The mean differences between the two groups were very small, however, ranging from only 0.07 to 0.51 millimeter. The differences were statistically significant only for levels L3/L4, L4/L5, and L5/S1 measured from the left side. Logistic regression analysis indicated that the relative risk for reporting industrially related back pain associated with a spinal canal diameter two standard deviations below the mean value measured at the L5/S1 level was 1.4 compared with the mean value; however, the L5/S1 measurement explained less than 1% of the variance in the data. Spinal canal diameters were not significantly associated with claims for work losses of greater than 1 month. The authors conclude that B-scan ultrasonography of the lumbar spinal canal appears to be of little value for screening for industrial back pain risk.
JOCMA7; NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Ultrasonics; Back-injuries; Clinical-techniques; Injury-prevention; Risk-analysis; Industrial-factory-workers; Occupational-medicine; Disabled-workers; Statistical-analysis
Orthopaedics University of Washington Department of Orthopaedics Seattle, Wash 98195
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational Medicine
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Page last reviewed: September 25, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division