Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 225–234 | Cite as

Perceived effort and low back pain in non-emergency ambulance workers: Implications for rehabilitation

  • Grace Y. T. Tam
  • Simon S. Yeung
Original Paper


Introduction: This study aims to explore factors associated with low back pain (LBP) that required treatment from health care provider among non-emergency ambulance transfer workers. Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted to 38 workers of a major hospital in Hong Kong. The influences of four categories of risk factors (personal, physical, psychosocial, and exposure factors) in the prevalence of LBP were investigated by objective measurement and self-reported questionnaires. A modified Nordic musculoskeletal symptoms survey and sick leave record were used to document the prevalence of LBP. Univariate analyses followed by multiple logistic regression analyses were used to explore the risk factors associated with LBP cases. Results: The results revealed that LBP was associated with age (OR=0.75, CI=0.56–1.00, P < 0.05), perceived effort (OR=7.95, CI=1.46–43.27, P < 0.05), job satisfaction (OR=4.18 CI=1.42–12.33, P < 0.01), and flexor peak torque at 120°/s (OR=1.09 CI= 0.99–1.19, P=0.07). Conclusion: This study suggests that workers’ perceived exertion has an valuable role in assessing risk at this workplace. A high perceived exertion at work can signal the need for work adjustment or modification to avoid progression of low back disorder to persistent pain or intense pain. The effects of work adjustment or modification in affected workers needs to be systematically investigated.


Low back pain definitions Non-emergency ambulance worker Physical risk factors Personal risk factors Psychosocial risk factors 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physiotherapy DepartmentUnited Christian HospitalKwun TongHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of Rehabilitation ScienceThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung HomHong Kong

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