Self-reported low back symptoms in urban bus drivers exposed to whole-body vibration

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1992 Sep;17(9):1048-59. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199209000-00007.


The prevalence of self-reported low back symptoms was investigated by a postal questionnaire in a group of 234 urban bus drivers exposed to whole-body vibration and postural stress and in a control group of 125 maintenance workers employed at the same bus municipal company. The average vertical whole-body vibration magnitude measured on the seat pan of the buses was 0.4 m/s2. After controlling for potential confounders, the prevalence odds ratios for the bus drivers compared to the controls significantly exceeded 1 for several types of low back symptoms (leg pain, acute low back pain, low back pain). The occurrence of low back symptoms increased with increasing whole-body vibration exposure expressed in terms of total (lifetime) vibration dose (years m2/s4), equivalent vibration magnitude (m/s2), and duration of exposure (years of service). The highest prevalence of disc protrusion was found among the bus drivers with more severe whole-body vibration exposure. Frequent awkward postures at work were also related to some types of low back symptoms. It is concluded that bus driving is associated with an increased risk for low back troubles. This excess risk may be due to both whole-body vibration exposure and prolonged sitting in a constrained posture. The findings of this study also indicated that among the bus drivers low back symptoms occurred at whole-body vibration exposure levels that were lower than the health-based exposure limits proposed by the International Standard ISO 2631/1.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging / physiology
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Back Pain / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Pain
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population*
  • Vibration / adverse effects*
  • Work*