Prevalence of low back pain among Irish radiographers

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Fallon, B.
England, A.
Young, R.
Moore, N.
McEntee, Mark F.
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Elsevier Inc.
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BACKGROUND: According to the literature, low back pain (LBP) is one of the top ten diseases and injuries contributing to disability-adjusted life years worldwide. To the best of the authors' knowledge there are no studies investigating the prevalence of LBP among radiographers working in Ireland or have compared prevalence rates with the national population or other cohorts of radiographers or healthcare professionals. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of LBP among radiographers working or who have previously worked in Ireland and to identify any causative factors. METHODS: A cross-sectional study in the form of an online questionnaire was developed. Participation was advertised online via social media platforms. Inclusion criteria included qualified radiographers working in Ireland or who had recently worked in Ireland. Section A of the questionnaire focussed on acquiring demographic data. Section B comprised eight questions relating to LBP, including current and previous experiences, causative factors and consequences. Further details on any episodes of LBP in the previous year, whether work and leisure activities had been affected, whether any extracurricular activities caused LBP, and whether a participant sought professional advice. Section C (six questions) used a 5-point ordinal scale to collect information on the frequency of specific tasks performed by radiographers in their daily roles. Section D involved exploratory questions, including whether LBP has forced a career change if they knew anyone who has changed their career as a result of LBP, reaction to the amount of manual handling required for radiographers, whether they thought manual handling training was sufficient, thoughts on the availability of assistive transfer devices, reasons for not following correct patient transfer guidelines, and finally whether they were concerned about LBP affecting their future. RESULTS: 151 radiographers participated in this study, and the point prevalence rate of LBP was 50%, with 12 months prevalence rate of 75%. Regarding activity levels, 25% (n=37) reported reduced work activity, and a further 43%(n=65) reduced leisure activities due to LBP. 37% (n=56) have sought medical advice from a doctor, physiotherapist, or other HCP concerning their LBP in the last year. 68% (n=104) of respondents who have LBP confirmed it was not a result of any extracurricular activities. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of LBP among radiographers in Ireland was high and 4.7 times higher than the period prevalence rate recorded in the general population. LBP rates were similar to radiographers working in other jurisdictions. Data from this study may help manage LBP and monitor any interventions' effectiveness.
Causative factors , Irish radiographers , Low back pain , Prevalence
Fallon, B., England, A., Young, R., Moore, N. and McEntee, M. (2023) 'Prevalence of low back pain among Irish radiographers', Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, 54(2), pp.273-280. doi: 10.1016/j.jmir.2023.01.006