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Arch Hellen Med, 30(2), March-April 2013, 205-211


Risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders among ambulance personnel

F. Katsavouni, E. Bebetsos, P. Malliou, A. Beneka
Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini, Greece

OBJECTIVE To investigate the relationship between work-related physical risk factors and musculoskeletal disorders among ambulance crews.

METHOD The study sample consisted of 253 permanent ambulance personnel aged between 23 and 60 years, mean 36.4±6.19 years, of which 186 (73.5%) were male and 67 (26.5%) female. The criterion for eligibility for the study was at least 12 months of work experience in the current position. The method used for recording the study data was the completion of anonymous questionnaires by the subjects. Questionnaire items included questions derived from the international questionnaire Cultural and Psychosocial Influences on Disability (CUPID), recording of daily occupational logs, information about previous employment and weekly working hours, and data on musculoskeletal disorders (low back pain, sciatica, neck pain). Statistical analysis using the statistical package Predictive Analytics Software (PASW Statistics), v. 18.0 included frequencies, crosstabs and the non-parametric test x2.

RESULTS Of the respondents 37.2% (n=94) reported low back pain, 31.6% (n=80) sciatica and 19.1% (n=23) neck pain. A significant association was found between low back pain and (a) "hours per week" (x2(9)=24.011, p<0.05) and (b) "weight lifting over 25 kg" (x2(1)=6.556, p<0.05), age (x2(8)=88.578, p<0.05) and body mass index (BMI) (x2(3)=49.536, p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS From these results it is apparent that the occupational obligations of ambulance personnel put a strain on the musculoskeletal system and particularly the spine. Psychological factors should also be investigated, as they possibly influence musculoskeletal pain.

Key words: Ambulance personnel, Low back pain, Risk factors, Weight lifting.

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