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Chronic back pain and associated work and non-work variables among farmworkers from Starr County, Texas.

Shipp-EM; Cooper-SP; del Junco-DJ; Delclos-GL; Burau-KD; Tortolero-S; Whitworth-RE
J Agromed 2009 Jan; 14(1):22-32
OBJECTIVES: This study estimated the prevalence of chronic back pain among migrant farmworker family members and identified associated work and non-work variables. METHODS: Migrant farmworkers (n = 390 from 267 families) from Starr County, Texas were interviewed in their home once a year for 2 years. The original survey included items measuring demographics, smoking, sleep, farm work, and chronic back pain. For this cross-sectional analysis, multi-level logistic regression was used to identify associated work and other variables associated with chronic back pain while accounting for intraclass correlations due to repeated measures and multiple family members. RESULTS: The prevalence of chronic back pain during the last migration season ranged from 9.5% among the youngest children to 33.3% among mothers. Variables significantly associated with chronic back pain were age (odds ratio [OR], 1.03, per year increase), depressive symptoms while migrating (OR, 8.72), fewer than 8 hours of sleep at home in Starr County (OR, 2.26), fairly bad/very bad quality of sleep while migrating (OR, 3.25), sorting crops at work (OR, 0.18), and working tree crops (OR, 11.72). CONCLUSION: The role of work exposures, depressive symptoms, and sleep in chronic back pain among farmworkers warrants further examination. Refinements in outcome and exposure assessments are also needed given the lack of a standardized case definition and the variety of tasks and crops involved in farm work in the United States.
Farmers; Agriculture; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Occupational-hazards; Demographic-characteristics; Racial-factors; Occupational-health; Occupational-exposure; Injuries; Author Keywords: Back pain; farmworkers; Hispanic; migrant; musculoskeletal symptoms
Eva M. Shipp, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston School of Public Health, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Grant; Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-004041; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U50-OH-007541
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
Journal of Agromedicine
Performing Organization
University of Texas, Health Science Center, School of Public Health, Houston, Texas
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division