Study Design. Prospective cohort study. Objective. We explored long-term associations between physical load exposure and chronic low back pain (LBP) using data from an ongoing population-based cohort study. Summary of Background Data. Physical load in work or daily life is often studied in relation to LBP. Most studies are cross-sectional or have a limited follow-up. Methods. Between 1993 and 2007, 4738 men and women aged 25 to 64 years were measured maximal 3 times with 5-year intervals. Physical load in daily activities (9 items, e. g., awkward postures, mechanical vibration) was assessed by questionnaire at 2 measurements and chronic LBP 3 times. Physical load exposure at both measurements was described. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were adjusted for sex, age, education, work status, body mass index, physical activity, and smoking. Results. Despite stable prevalence rates of physical load exposure, about 50% of the participants exposed changed their exposure during a 5-year period. 7.2% of the participants reported awkward postures at 2 measurements, 8.4% at the first measurement only, and 6.8% at the second measurement only. Among all physical load variables, associations with chronic LBP were found only for awkward postures. An increased risk for incident chronic LBP was found in participants exposed twice to awkward postures. In contrast, only single exposure to awkward postures was associated with persistence of chronic LBP. Conclusion. Awkward postures were associated with chronic LBP in the general population. Exposure to awkward postures at 2 measurements with 5 years in between did increase the risk for incident chronic LBP, but not for persistence of chronic LBP.
- life-course epidemiology