Incidence and risk factors associated with chronic occupational lower back pain among healthcare professionals working in hospitals: an exploratory survey study

Summary

Objective The aim of this study was to outline the methodological process for developing a questionnaire to identify the incidence and risk factors of chronic occupational lower back pain in healthcare professionals working in hospitals. Method An exploratory cross-sectional survey study was conducted in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil, and its metropolitan region, in two stages. Initially, the authors prepared a questionnaire based on the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire and sent it to a panel of lower back pain specialists for validation using the Delphi technique. The second stage involved sending the final questionnaire to healthcare professionals working in a hospital setting for at least 2 years and experiencing chronic lower back pain for at least 3 months. Results Validation occurred in two rounds of questionnaire adjustments by a panel of physiotherapists and expert physicians in the field (orthopedists with over 3 years of experience). Both rounds involved 13 participants. The questionnaire initially comprised 27 items and, after validation, it consisted of 19 items. The study included 65 subjects, with an average age of 40.91 years and an average weekly working time in a hospital of 40 hours. The total sample was made up of 76.9% physicians, 10.8% physiotherapists, and 12.3% nurses or nursing technicians. The majority (52.3%) of subjects reported being in uncomfortable positions affecting the lower back for 5 to 10 hours per day. Conclusion We developed and validated, using the Delphi technique, a questionnaire on the incidence and risk factors associated with chronic occupational lower back pain among healthcare professionals working in hospitals. This unprecedented tool can benefit the studied population as current questionnaires used to assess chronic low back pain are not specific in investigating the occupational cause of this condition.

Keywords:

back pain; healthcare professionals; lumbago; quality of life; work capacity assessment.

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