OBJECTIVES: To investigate the relation between psychosocial and physical factors at work, as well as conditions during leisure time, and low back pain (LBP) over 24 years. METHODS: The study group consisted of 252 women and 232 men. From a previous study conducted in 1969, data on psychosocial and physical conditions and LBP were available. Data on LBP for 1971-93 were obtained retrospectively in 1993. RESULTS: The prevalence of LBP in 1969 among women and men were 34% and 24%, the cumulative incidences of LBP during 1970-92 were 38% and 43%, and the prevalences in 1993 of having had LBP during the past 12 months were 44% and 39%, respectively. Monotonous work and few or unsatisfactory social contacts outside work were risk factors for LBP in 1969 among women. LBP in 1969 and dissatisfaction with leisure time were risk factors among both sexes for LBP in 1970-92. LBP in 1969 was a risk factor for LBP in 1993 among women and dissatisfaction with leisure time a risk factor among men. Interactions between few or unsatisfactory social contacts outside work, as well as dissatisfaction with leisure time, and several factors related to work were found to increase the risk of LBP among both sexes during the studied periods. CONCLUSIONS: Conditions in leisure time exert a long term influence on LBP. In this study factors related to work had a long term effect only in interaction with leisure time factors.
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