Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health Online-first -article    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.3680

Is objectively measured sitting at work associated with low back pain? A cross sectional study in the DPhacto cohort

by Korshøj M, Hallman DM, Mathiassen SE, Aadahl M, Holtermann A, Jørgensen MB

Objectives Low-back pain (LBP) is a substantial health challenge due to the risk for long-term sickness absence and early retirement. Several biomechanical exposures at work, including sitting, have been suggested to increase the risk for LBP. The objectives of this study were to determine (i) the extent to which temporal patterns and total amount of objectively measured sitting is associated with LBP intensity and (ii) whether selected modifiers influence these associations.

Methods This cross sectional study uses baseline data from the Danish PHysical ACTivity cohort with Objective measurements (DPhacto) of physical activities in the cleaning, transport and manufacturing sectors. Peak intensity of LBP was collected by questionnaire on a 0–10 scale and sitting was expressed in terms of total duration and temporal pattern, ie, time spent in brief bursts (≤5 minutes), moderate periods (>5–≤20 minutes), and prolonged periods of sitting (>20 minutes); both during work and whole day (waking hours only). Associations were determined using linear regression in models accounting for moderation and confounding. Factors evaluated as moderators or confounders were assessed by questionnaire.

Results The population consisted of 704 participants. No significant associations were found between total duration or temporal patterns of sitting and LBP intensity, neither during work nor for the whole day. Body mass index (BMI) significantly moderated the association between sitting and LBP; participants with a high and low BMI showing a negative and positive association, respectively.

Conclusion Sitting was not independently associated with peak LBP intensity, suggesting other exposures are more powerful risk factors for LBP.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2006;32(4):294-299  2011;37(1):6-29  2016;42(1):43-51  2017;43(3):269-278