2012, Number 1
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ABSTRACTThe purpose of this study is to find the factors associated with the diagnosis of low back pain considering, for each patient, occupational activities, daily physical activities, age, weight, time course, number of visits to the doctor, and number of days of disability leave given due to that condition; all patients were seen at Tacuba General Hospital (TGH). In that hospital the diagnosis of low back pain is the 7th reason for seeking medical care and of disability leave. That is why it is necessary to apply prevention, education and timely care measures and detect the conditioning factors and the most frequent vulnerable groups, as well as the possible causes. Material and methods: The study was conducted with Rehabilitation Medicine and Orthopedics outpatients from January to December 2008. An observational, retrospective, case-and-control study was conducted. A 15-question questionnaire was applied. The sample consisted of 100 patient records with the diagnosis of low back pain and 100 randomly selected patient records as the control group. Results: Two-hundred records were analyzed; 100 cases of low back pain and 100 controls within the same population. Males represented 35%. Forty-five patients (22%) were given one or more disability leave days and 151 were diagnosed as being overweight. Patients were classified into 3 groups according to the physical activity performed at work. One hundred and seventeen (58.5%) were found to perform mild activity, 35 (17.5%) moderate, and 48 (24%) strenuous activity. Results showed that 112 (546%) cases remained seated for more than 6 hours and performed mild work activities. Patients with mild activity and who remain seated for more than 6 hours have a 1.9 fold higher risk of having low back pain. Patients with one or more days of disability leave represented 16% in the case group and 29% in the control group, thus concluding that the causes of disability are other conditions other than low back pain. The odds ratio shows that patients with low back pain have a 0.5 fold higher risk of getting a disability leave in one year than controls. The overweight population was found to have a 5.7 higher risk of low back pain compared with those having a normal body mass index. Sixty-four percent of cases work seated for 6 or more hours. Discussion: Low back pain is one of the major reasons for visiting a specialist physician; it is increasing and is associated with longevity, chronic-degenerative diseases and overweight. Strenuous work activity was not associated with low back pain in this group of patients. Millions of dollars are spent in treatments and work disability as a result of the diagnosis of low back pain. Conclusion: The latter is more common in sedentary patients with mild work activity and who remain seated for more than 6 hours; these patients have a higher chance of being disabled due to this diagnosis. No significant association was found between patients over 65 years of age and low back pain.
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