FLEXAR: deFining Lumbar Extension, FleXion And Rotation in the workplace

Ms Georde Vuillermin1,2, Dr Cylie Williams1,2, Dr Ross Iles2, Dr  Kelly-Ann Bowles2

1Peninsula Health , Frankston , Australia, 2Monash University , Frankston , Australia

Aim:

To identify lumbar movement patterns and the prevalence of low back pain for 160 health professionals within a standard work day at Peninsula Health.

Method:

Allied health professionals were recruited as part of a larger study on low back movement pattern within the health care network. Participants wore a movement monitoring system (Vi-Move) which recorded lumbar movement and muscle activity in real time. At the beginning and end of the work period participants completed a visual analogue scale (VAS) on the intensity of low back pain. The means (SD) and frequencies per hour and medians (IQR) were used to describe the data.

Results

To date, 92 allied health professionals from 13 professions have participated. Physiotherapist/Exercise Physiologists recorded the largest mean number of flexions (Mean=9,SD=5). Podiatrists recorded the largest amount of sustained flexions (Mean=2,SD=1). These sustained events were defined as posture held for greater than 30 seconds, with the majority considered low range flexion between 20°-40°(Mean=9 SD=7 per day). Allied Health Assistants recorded the greatest time in dynamic movement (Mean=1.4 hours SD=1.1) and Speech Pathologists recording the greatest time sitting (Mean=4.7 hours, SD=1.6). Radiographers recorded the greatest back pain on the VAS at the end of the day (Median=2 IQR=1,2.25).

Significance to Allied Health

This is the first known research to quantify real time lumbar movement patterns of allied health professionals over a work day. This data will be used to assist allied health disciplines to better identify “at risk” movements that may lead to future low back injuries.