Low back pain (LBP) is frequent and burdensome among police officers, but occupational and ergonomic factors associated with LBP and its chronic symptoms have never been studied among these workers using a biopsychosocial model. This study aimed at exploring such factors associated with acute or subacute LBP and chronic low back pain (CLBP) among car-patrol police officers.
A web-based cross-sectional study was conducted among car-patrol officers working in the province of Quebec (Canada). Factors associated with acute or subacute LBP and CLBP (as opposed to absence of LBP) were studied using a multivariate multinomial regression model.
A total of 2208 car-patrol officers composed the study population. Statistically significant occupational/ergonomic determinant for higher prevalence of acute or subacute LBP was more frequent discomfort in the lower back when sitting in the patrol car as a driver (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 3.008; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.170-4.168). More frequent posttraumatic interventions was associated with lower prevalence of acute or subacute LBP (adjusted OR, 0.609; 95% CI, 0.410-0.907). Occupational and ergonomic factors associated with higher prevalence of CLBP were greater seniority (adjusted OR, 1.061; 95% CI, 1.007-1.118) and more frequent discomfort in the lower back when sitting in the patrol car as a driver (adjusted OR, 7.546; 95% CI, 5.257-10.831).
Few occupational and ergonomic factors that police organizations could use to better tailor prevention were found to be associated with acute or subacute LBP and CLBP. This cross-sectional study is an efficient first investigation for screening hypotheses that should be confirmed in further cohort studies.