Purpose. To investigate the relationship between work function and low back pain (LBP) history. Study design: Cross-sectional study. Background. In some countries, traditional medical examinations do not assess work performance in people who continue working despite a history of LBP, although such assessment may be required. Methods. A total of 100 industrial metal workers were assigned to groups with and without LBP history. Logistic regression and t-tests examined the associations between physical work performance (represented by dynamic strength evaluation) and the group, and compared worker performance between the two groups. Similar tests examined potentially confounding effects on group assignment. Results. Work performance was significantly associated with the group in dynamic strength sub-tests assessing weight lifting and carrying. The weights handled were lower in the group with LBP history (p<0.05). Only the workers' country of origin affected group assignment; adjustment for this factor, as well as for age and education improved the associations between work performance and the group. Conclusions. Workers with a history of LBP display decreased physical performance at work, which should be subject to further research and treated as a health-related problem in accordance with the ICF model.
- Low back pain
- Occupationally active persons
- Work function