Physical demand at work and sick leave due to low back pain: A cross-sectional study

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt


Objectives To investigate if self-reported high physical demand at work, objective physical workload using a job exposure matrix (JEM) and fear-avoidance beliefs are associated with reported sick leave in the previous year in persons with low back pain (LBP). Second, to investigate if the effects of fear-avoidance and self-reported high physical demand at work on sick leave are modified by the objective physical workloads. Settings Participants were recruited from general practice and by advertisement in a local newspaper. Participants 305participants with a current period of 2-4 weeks LBP and self-reported difficulty in maintaining physically demanding jobs due to LBP were interviewed, clinically examined and had an MRI at baseline. Main outcome measures Independent variables were high fear-avoidance, self-reported high physical demand at work and objective measures of physical workloads (JEM). Outcome was self-reported sick leave due to LBP in the previous year. Logistic regression and tests for interaction were used to identify risk factors and modifiers for the association with self-reported sick leave. Results Self-reported physically demanding work and high fear-avoidance were significantly associated with prior sick leave due to LBP in the previous year with OR 1.75 95% CI (1.10 to 2.75) and 2.75 95% CI (1.61to 4.84), respectively. No objective physical workloads had significant associations. There was no modifying effect of objective physical workloads on the association between self-reported physical demand at work/high fear-avoidance and sick leave. Conclusions Occupational interventions to reduce sick leave due to LBP may have to focus more on those with high self-reported physical demands and high fear-avoidance, and less on individuals with the objectively highest physical workload. Trial registration number NCT02015572; Post-results.

TidsskriftBMJ Open
Udgave nummer5
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - 2019

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