Background Musculoskeletal disorders are a common problem among uniformed police with lower back pain being most frequently reported (Gyi and Porter, 1998). Wearing mandatory equipment (duty belt and body armour) and sitting for long periods of time in fleet vehicles are characteristic workload factors linked to musculoskeletal disorders in police (Filtness et al., 2014, Holmes et al., 2013).
Aim The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of multi-site musculoskeletal pain among Swedish police and to explore the possible association to physical workload factors with a special focus on mandatory equipment.
Method A cross-sectional study was carried out with responses from 4185 uniformed police. Data was collected through a self-administered online survey including questions about work environment, physical workload factors, mandatory equipment and musculoskeletal pain. Multi-site musculoskeletal pain was determined by summing pain sites from four body regions. Binomial logistic regression was performed to explore the association between multi-site musculoskeletal pain and 1) use of mandatory equipment and 2) sitting for long periods in fleet vehicles.
Result The prevalence of multi-site musculoskeletal pain at least one day per week within the previous three months was 41.3%. A statistically significant association was found between multi-site musculoskeletal pain and mandatory equipment whereas sitting for long periods of time in fleet vehicles was not found to be significantly associated to multi-site musculoskeletal pain.
Conclusion Multi-site musculoskeletal pain is a considerable problem among Swedish police and the association to mandatory equipment should therefore be further investigated including psychosocial factors.
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