Prevalence of low back pain and associated occupational factors among Chinese coal miners

Very few studies have evaluated the association between occupational factors and low back pain (LBP) among miners. The epidemiological data on LBP in Chinese miners are limited.

The aim of this study was to measure the prevalence of low back pain in Chinese coal miners and to investigate the role of occupational factors.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted to examine 1573 coal miners in northern China. The prevalence of LBP over a 12-month period was assessed using the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire.

Odds ratios were calculated to examine the association between the prevalence of LBP over a 12-month period and occupational factors using logistic regression.

Results: Among the coal miners, 64.9% self-reported LBP in a 12-month period. Occupational factors associated with LBP were identified, including tasks with a high degree of repetitiveness (OR 1.3, 95%CI 1.0-1.6), tasks characterized by a high level of physical demand (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1-1.8), posture requiring extreme bending (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.2-1.7) and insufficient recovery time (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0-1.8).

Conclusion: Low back pain is common among Chinese miners.

There were strong associations with occupational factors.

Published on: 2012-03-01

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