What are the predictors of low back pain among secondary school teachers?

Low back pain (LBP) is prevalent among the working population. LBP is not a disease, but a constellation of symptoms which are usually acute and self-limiting. However, it affects the performance at work and general well-being besides incurring a high economic burden for individuals, families, community, industries and government. Despite the social impact of LBP, little is known about the course of LBP due to the lack of longitudinal studies, particularly among school teachers. Eva Nabiha Zamri, a Doctor of Philosophy candidate from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Unversity of Malaya, conducted a longitudinal study among 701 teachers in Selangor, Malaysia to determine the predictors of LBP.

The study found that the prevalence of LBP at 12-month follow-up was 44 per cent. The predictors of LBP at 12-months was LBP at baseline (Odds Ratio 10.43; 95%CI 6.19, 17.58) in the multivariate model. When LBP was removed from the model, anxiety symptoms and lifting heavy weights were found to predicts LBP at 12-months follow-up. The management of LBP pain in the workplace should focus on both physical and psychological factors.

The findings were published in Industrial Health: Zamri EN, Hoe VCW, Moy FM. Predictors of low back pain among secondary school teachers in Malaysia: a longitudinal study. Ind Health. 2019 Oct 31. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.2019-0106. [Epub ahead of print]. Eva Nabiha Zamri is supervised by Prof Moy Foong Ming and Prof Dr Victor CW Hoe.

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