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Musculoskeletal fitness and health-related quality of life characteristics among sedentary office workers affected by sub-acute, non-specific low back pain: a cross-sectional study

Abstract

Objectives

To establish the level of musculoskeletal fitness and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in sedentary office workers with sub-acute, non-specific low back pain, and compare the results with reference data for healthy sedentary office workers.

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Setting

Occupational secondary prevention setting.

Participants

One-hundred and ninety sedentary office workers: 118 suffering from sub-acute, non-specific low back pain (47 men and 71 women) and 72 age-matched healthy controls (30 men and 42 women).

Main outcome measures

Participants were assessed using a musculoskeletal fitness battery (sit-and-reach test, hand grip strength, lumbar and abdominal trunk muscle endurance, and back scratch test), the EuroQol-5D-3L, Oswestry Disability Questionnaire, and Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire. Data for both genders and conditions were compared.

Results

Subjects with low back pain achieved lower scores in most of the fitness tests compared with healthy, age-matched controls. Trunk flexor and extensor endurance demonstrated the greatest difference in both men {flexion: median difference 59 [95% confidence interval (CI) 26 to 90]seconds; extension: median difference 24 [95% CI 20 to 68]} and women [flexion: median difference 59 (95% CI 5 to 85.50)seconds; extension: median difference 41 (95% CI 30 to 55)seconds]. Differences in HRQoL were also demonstrated between groups for both men and women, with the exception of the pain/discomfort dimension in women.

Conclusions

Sedentary office workers with sub-acute, non-specific low back pain had lower musculoskeletal fitness than healthy, age-matched controls, with the main difference found in endurance of the trunk muscles. HRQoL was also lower in workers with low back pain.

Cite this article

Musculoskeletal fitness and health-related quality of life characteristics among sedentary office workers affected by sub-acute, non-specific low back pain: a cross-sectional study. Physiotherapy - September 2013 (Vol. 99, Issue 3, Pages 194-200, DOI: 10.1016/j.physio.2012.06.006)

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