Study design: Mailed survey to random sample of a specific population.
Objectives: To examine the lifetime and point prevalence of low back pain among alpine ski instructors.
Background: The lifetime prevalence for back pain is up to 60% among some athletes. Published literature documents back pain among athletes participating in many sports. However, the prevalence of low back pain among alpine ski instructors has not been established.
Methods and measures: Surveys were mailed to 500 randomly selected members of the Professional Ski Instructors of America. The lifetime and point prevalence were determined by respondents' report regarding history of low back pain and current back pain.
Results: Two hundred four (75% of the 272 respondents) reported a history of low back pain. Eighty-five of those who responded (31%) reported current back pain. Over 9% of respondents missed 10 or more days of work because of back pain.
Conclusions: The lifetime prevalence of back pain among respondents was similar to the general population. The respondents reported more lifetime prevalence of back pain than athletes of many other sports. The high prevalence of back pain among ski instructors may increase cost and decrease revenue for the employer. Prevention training in this population may decrease the prevalence of back pain and lessen costs to the employer and the alpine ski instructor.