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October/November 2012 (vol. 09/3)

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Research Plus

Awkward postures and the risk of back pain

There is no clear dose–response relationship between cumulative exposure to working in a flexed (and thus awkward) posture and low back pain (LBP), a systematic review has found (eight included studies). Three domains were considered (from the literature) to be important for cumulative exposure: duration of exposure; trunk range of motion (ROM – essentially, a measure of the extent of the trunk flexion); and frequency of trunk flexion. Most of the studies examined risk of LBP with increased duration of exposure and increased ROM; no studies considered frequency of trunk flexion. Although increased LBP risks were observed, confidence intervals were generally wide and there was only limited evidence for ROM or duration as risk factors for LBP, and no clear dose–response relationships. Methodological limitations in the included studies mean that relationships between these potential risk factors and LBP cannot be ruled out.

Annals of Occupational Hygiene 2012; 56(6): 684–696.


Occupational Health at Work October/November 2012 (vol. 09/3) pp40-41