Prevalence of and risk factors for different measures of low back pain among female nursing aides in Taiwanese nursing homes

Chao-Kang Feng; Mei-Lien Chen; I-Fang Mao
January 2007
BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders;2007, Vol. 8, p52
Academic Journal
Background: Although low back pain (LBP) among nursing staff, especially in nursing aides (NAs), has been a major health problem around the world, there is limited information on its prevalence in Taiwan. In addition, various measurements have been used to determine LBP; understanding the risk factors for each measurement of LBP is essential for prevention. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of and risk factors for different measures of LBP among NAs in Taiwan. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 244 female NAs from 31 nursing homes in central Taiwan. A self-administered questionnaire, including the Nordic questionnaire and the Karasek's job content questionnaire, was used to collect data regarding five different measures of LBP and about demographic, physical and psychosocial factors. Also, on-site observation at the workplace was conducted to measure the frequency of five high risk patient-handling tasks. Results: Based on the subjects' reports on the previous twelve months, the prevalence rates for pain lasting for at least one day, seeking of medical care, intense pain, sick leave, and chronic pain were 66.0%, 43.9%, 38.1%, 10.7%, and 8.6%, respectively. While multiple logistic regression analyses indicated that the risk factors varied with different measures of LBP, at least one high risk patient-handling task and one psychosocial factor were observed to be associated each LBP related measure. Three risk factors, including manual transfer of patients between bed/wheelchair and bath cart, perceived physical exertion, and psychological demands, were consistently associated with different measures of LBP. Besides, age was found to be associated with an increased risk of only chronic pain. Conclusion: The prevalence of LBP among NAs in Taiwan is high and should be actively addressed. Certain manual patient-transfer tasks and psychological demands seemed to play more important roles in severe LBP (such as care seeking, intense pain, and sick leave) than in minor LBP (pain lasting for at least one day). Because different LBP related measures might be involved with different etiological risk factors, any LBP reduction interventions that aim to improve ergonomic and psychosocial work environments for NAs should take this information into consideration.


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