Does occupational lifting and carrying among female health care workers contribute to an escalation of pain-day frequency?


  • Funding sources

    Funding for this study was provided by a special grant from the Danish Parliament (satspulje). This founding source had no role in the study's design, the data collection, the analysis, the interpretation of data or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

  • Conflicts of interest

    All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


Andreas Holtermann




The aim of the study was to investigate if different frequencies, loads and trunk postures of occupational lifting and carrying increases the risk of sub-chronic (1–30 days last 12 months) low back pain (LBP) to become persistent (>30 days last 12 months) among female health care workers.


Female health care workers answered a questionnaire about occupational lifting or carrying frequency (rarely, occasionally and frequently), load (low: 1–7 kg, moderate: 8–30 kg and heavy: >30 kg) and trunk posture (upright or forward bent back), and days with LBP in 2005 and 2006.


The odds ratio (OR) for developing persistent LBP in 2006 from these characteristics of occupational lifting and carrying was investigated with multi-adjusted logistic regressions among female health care workers with sub-chronic LBP (n = 2381) in 2005. Among health care workers with sub-chronic LBP, increased risk of persistent LBP was found from frequently lifting or carrying with forward bent back of moderate loads (OR: 1.63; 95% CI: 1.15–2.33) and heavy loads (OR: 1.56; 95% CI: 1.04–2.34). No increased risk for LBP to develop into a persistent condition was found for frequent lifting with upright back, frequent lifting or carrying of light loads, or occasionally lifting or carrying of any loads.


Preventive initiatives for sub-chronic LBP to develop into a persistent condition ought to focus on reducing frequent lifting and carrying of moderate and heavy loads with forward bent back.