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Low back pain in drivers exposed to whole body vibration: Analysis of a dose-response pattern
  1. Ivo Tiemessen (i.j.tiemessen{at}
  1. Coronel Institute for Occupational Health, Netherlands
    1. Carel Hulshof (c.t.hulshof{at}
    1. Coronel Institute for Occupational Health, Netherlands
      1. Monique Frings-Dresen (m.frings{at}
      1. Coronel Institute for Occupational Health, Netherlands


        Objective: Analysis of a dose-response pattern between exposure to whole body vibration (WBV) and low back pain (LBP) in a group of drivers.

        Methods: We assessed individual factors, work-related risk factors, various LBP outcome measures (12-month LBP, driving-related LBP, LBP intensity [Von Korff pain scale¡Ý 5] and LBP disability [Roland Morris disability scale ¡Ý 12]) in a group of drivers (n=571) approached at baseline (T0), as well as the WBV magnitude of a representative sample of their vehicles (n=49), at two points in time: T0 and one-year follow-up (T1). Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire and actual field measurements according to the ISO 2631-1. The magnitude and duration of vibration exposure and a variety of daily and cumulative WBV-exposure measures were calculated for each driver.

        Results: A sample of 229 drivers (40.1%) completed both questionnaires (T0 and T1). The magnitude of WBV was comparable over time. Depending on the LBP outcome, various individual factors (marital status, back trauma and smoking) and work-related risk factors (previous job with heavy physical loading, lifting, bending and the physical risk index) related significantly to onset (all, p< 0.05). After adjusting for these contributing factors, we found a significant trend (an increase in odds ratios of developing LBP with an increase in WBV exposure) for driving-related LBP with daily driving time (p<0.03), and the cumulative measures total hours of exposure (p<0.01), rooth sum of squares at total dose (p<0.05) and root sum of quads at total dose (p<0.01). No significant trend was found for 12-month LBP. No analysis on a possible dose-response pattern could be derived for either LBP intensity or LBP disability, due to low prevalence.

        Conclusion: We found a dose-response pattern between WBV exposure and driving-related LBP. No indication of a dose-response pattern was found between WBV exposure and 12-month LBP. Although this dose-response pattern is only an indication, these findings imply that WBV exposure might contribute to the onset of driving-related LBP.

        • Dose-response pattern
        • Low back pain
        • Whole body vibration

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