Background Low back pain is common among healthcare workers but is it more frequent than in other occupations?
Objectives In order to answer this question, we carried out this study with the aim of determining if healthcare workers was more at risk for low back pain in the same institution than non-healthcare workers, administrative and technical workers.
Methods We performed a survey on all permanent workers (n=584) of the Douala General Hospital in Cameroon from January to May 2016. Socio-demographic characteristics of workers (distinction with different occupations – healthcare workers, administrative workers, technical workers) and the main features of low back pain were collected. A p<0.05 was significant.
Results Of the 584 questionnaires distributed, 474 responses were obtained (81.1%). We excluded 27 for incomplete data. 447 were retained for the final analysis: 296 healthcare workers, 79 administrative workers, and 72 technical workers. The mean age was 40±10 years [22–66 years] and 258 (57.7%) were female. Mean BMI was 27±4.3 kg/m2 with 103 (23%) obese.
At the end of the study, 252 (56.4%) workers described low back pain, including 170 (57.4%) healthcare workers, 44 (55.7) administrative workers and 38 (52.7) technical workers. There was no significant difference between the different groups (p>0.05). Same for sex (p=0.9). The overall independent risk factors associated with low back pain were: seniority in their current position (OR 4.97, 95% CI 1.80–13.68, p=0.002), office chair quality (OR 3.06, 95% CI 1.29–7.26, p=0.01), and job satisfaction (OR 1.55, 95% CI 105–2.54, p=0.048). The specific risk factors for each occupation are presented in Table 1.
Conclusions In an institution like Douala General Hospital, where the administrative, technical and healthcare workers are subjected to the same professional stress in terms of quality of care and performance, we did not find any difference on prevalence among these 3 occupations.
Preventive measures must be performed for all staff but need to be tailored to each occupation.
Disclosure of Interest None declared