The prevalence and associated risk factors of low back pain in an automotive production company
Objectives: To determine the prevalence and associated risk factors of low back pain (LBP) in an automotive production company, evaluating the relationship between selected risk factors, type of occupational activity and the prevalence of LBP. Methods : This was a descriptive study at a large automotive production company entailing 200 physical production employees and 200 sedentary employees. Using a cross sectional study design, a retrospective analysis investigated the LBP prevalence, by means of a questionnaire. Individuals reported on demographics, injury location, injury aetiology, injury nature, extent of treatment rendered and time lost from work. Additionally, data was obtained regarding smoking, occupational stress and fitness.Results: A significant difference was found between sedentary and manual employees with regards to age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, education and medical aid. Similarly a significant difference between the groups was found for the point prevalence of LBP, current LBP description (sharp, shooting, dull aching, stabbing and catching pain descriptions), past LBP description (catching pain description), sidedness/ location of pain as well as associated features of the current LBP (viz. pins and needles, pain to the knees, numbness, bed rest, absence from work, pain at work and pain on weekends) and associated features of past LBP (viz. pins and needles, pain to the knees, numbness, bed rest, absence from work, pain at work and pain on weekends). There were no noted psychosocial factor that impacted on a difference between the groups, but there was a significant difference between the manual and sedentary employees with regards to absenteeism. Conclusion: A significant rate of LBP was reported amongst both the sedentary (59.6%) and the manual (89%) employees, implying that the costs to the company are relatively high. It is, therefore, suggested that the company looks at a variety of strategies to reduce the burden of LBP in their employees.