Document Detail

Back pain in aircrew--an initial survey.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8725476     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: In the early 1990's staff at a Royal Naval Air Station formed the view that pilots and observers of the Navy Lynx helicopter fleet appeared to have a higher incidence of back pain, to be seeking medical assistance more frequently and to be spending more time medically "unfit to fly" when compared to their counterparts in other helicopters. HYPOTHESIS: To quantify the incidence of low back pain in helicopter aircrew by use of a questionnaire. METHODS: A questionnaire was used to establish the prevalence and nature of back pain in Naval aircrew (161) compared to a control group of randomly selected non-flying military personnel (310). RESULTS: Results show that aircrew (82%) experience significantly more back pain than controls (52%) (p < 0.01) though the nature of pain was similar in both groups. Significantly more aircrew (73%) than controls (49%) (p < 0.01) reported a previous history of back pain and report pain in shoulders (19%), midback (42%), lower back (72%) and across the buttocks (12%). Ergonomic factors were thought to be causative. Of aircrew surveyed, 11 (8%) had been issued with personal lumbar supports which resulted in major subjective improvements in flight-related symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Helicopter aircrew have a higher incidence of back pain. Crew station design was identified as a major contributor to the prevalence of back pain while personal supports reduced the levels of discomfort. While these findings are not new, no significant steps have been taken to redesign the crew station. It is recommended that personal supports are provided to all aircrew and that a more detailed study of crew station ergonomics is indicated following a more comprehensive study of prevalence of back pain in Royal Navy aircrew.
S C Sheard; R J Pethybridge; J M Wright; G H McMillan
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Aviation, space, and environmental medicine     Volume:  67     ISSN:  0095-6562     ISO Abbreviation:  Aviat Space Environ Med     Publication Date:  1996 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1996-10-01     Completed Date:  1996-10-01     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7501714     Medline TA:  Aviat Space Environ Med     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  474-7     Citation Subset:  IM; S    
Royal Naval Air Station, United Kingdom.
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MeSH Terms
Aerospace Medicine*
Human Engineering
Low Back Pain / epidemiology*
Middle Aged
Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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