Back disorders (low back pain, cervicobrachial and lumbosacral radicular syndromes) and some related risk factors

J Neurol Sci. 2001 Nov 15;192(1-2):17-25. doi: 10.1016/s0022-510x(01)00585-8.


The AIM of this study was to estimate the prevalence rates of low back pain (LBP), cervicobrachial and lumbosacral radicular syndromes (CBR and LSRS) in workers from a fertilizer plant and also to analyze the impact of several important work-related and non-occupational risk factors. SUBJECTS of this comprehensive cross-sectional study were 898 workers and employees from the four main departments of the plant. The following complex of methods was applied: neurologic history, complete neurologic status and statistical method.

Results: Age is the first risk factor, discussed by authors. The data showed highly significant differences in the prevalence of CBS-16.2% in the risk group vs. 10.0% in the referent group (OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.14-2.63); LBP-25.8% vs. 17.0% (OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.21-2.38) and LSRS-16.0% vs. 5.8% (OR 3.09, 95% CI 1.89-5.08). Gender is the second risk factor strongly related to LBP, CBS and LSRS. The prevalence of radicular syndromes is higher for women that for men: OR for CBS is 3.27 and 1.93 for LSRS. There is an interesting trend in the case of combined impact of age and gender among men and women of 40 or under and over 40--the risk, estimated by OR, is higher. In men over 40, overweight, obesity and heaviness of smoking, estimated by duration of smoking and daily cigarette consumption (more than 20 years and more than 20 cigarettes per day), increase the risk of developing back disorders (BD). At this stage of the research, there is no proof of the impact of hypercholesterolemia, non-occupational or work-related strain on the development of BD. The authors' CONCLUSION is that these results may support programs for health promotion and health prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies / epidemiology*
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / complications
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology
  • Lumbosacral Plexus / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Prevalence
  • Radiculopathy / epidemiology*
  • Radiculopathy / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Spinal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Spinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology
  • Workplace