Back problems among emergency medical services professionals: The LEADS health and wellness follow-up study

Authors

  • Jonathan R. Studnek PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, Columbus, Ohio
    2. Carolinas Medical Center, The Center for Prehospital Medicine, Charlotte, North Carolina
    • NREMT-P, Director of Prehospital Research, The Center for Prehospital Medicine, Carolinas Medical Center, PO Box 32861, Charlotte, NC 28232-2861.
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  • J. Mac Crawford PhD,

    1. Division of Environmental Health Sciences, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
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  • J.R. Wilkins III PhD,

    1. Division of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
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  • Michael L. Pennell PhD

    1. Division of Biostatistics, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
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Abstract

Objective

Describe work-life and demographic characteristics associated with reporting recent back pain, and estimate back pain severity among Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals.

Methods

A 58-item postal questionnaire was used to collect relevant health and wellness information from a national sample of EMS professionals. The outcome variables were self-reported pain in the back or legs, and severity of recent back pain as indicated by the Aberdeen Back Pain Scale (ABPS).

Results

There were 470/930 (50.5%) participants who reported one or more days of pain in the back or legs over a 2-week period. The variables most strongly associated with recent back pain and pain severity were prior back problems, self-reported health, and job satisfaction.

Conclusion

This study indicated that work-life, health, and demographic characteristics of EMS professionals were associated with reporting recent back pain. Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:12–22, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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