Ergonomics

Low back pain linked to awkward positions, distractions: study

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Sydney – Awkward body positions, distractions and fatigue may contribute to low back pain, suggests a new study from the University of Sydney.

Nearly 1,000 patients with acute low back pain from 300 clinics were asked to report various exposures leading up to the onset of pain. Of the exposures, distractions during an activity had the highest odds of developing back pain, and moderate or vigorous physical activity had the lowest odds.

“Understanding which risk factors contribute to back pain and controlling exposure to these risks is an important first step in prevention,” study co-author Manuela Ferreira said in a press release. Ferreira is an associate professor with the George Institute for Global Health and Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney.

The back is one of the most common body parts affected by workplace injuries or illnesses, with an incident rate of 20 per 10,000 workers and causing a median seven days away from work in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The study was published in the February issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a journal from the American College of Rheumatology.