Assessment of the prevalence and risk factors of low back pain in operating room health workers: An observational study in Italy


  • Stefano Brauneis
  • Enza Sorrentino
  • Vincenza Di Lisa
  • Gabriella Galluccio
  • Barbara Piras
  • Francesca Carella
  • Edoardo Palozzi
  • Carmela Generali
  • Simona Maggiacomo
  • SilviaD’ Aurelio
  • Insa Backhaus
  • Filippo La Torre
  • Ciro Villani
  • Giuseppe La Torre



Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of low back pain (LBP) among health
professionals and the possible risk factors.

Methods: The study was carried out from April 2018 to October 2018 among all health workers of the
Orthopaedic Clinic and the Emergency Department of “Policlinico Umberto I” in Rome. LBP was
assessed using the Nordic Questionnaire Musculoskeletal Disorders in the section on lumbar pain.
The type of physical activity carried out as prevention was investigated by use of the
International Physical Activity Questionnaires. The overall state of health and lifestyle was
deter- mined by the Short Form 12-item Health Survey. Job satisfaction and perceived work stress
were assessed through the 15-questions of Karasek’s Questionnaire. The intensity of the low back
pain was assessed using a Numerical Rating Scale. A univariate analysis was conducted to assess the
associations between socio-demographic and working variables. Multiple logistic regression mod- els
were used to assess independent correlates of LBP.

Results: One hundred thirteen subjects were enrolled, 52 women and 61 men. The annual period-
prevalence of lumbar musculoskeletal disorder was found on 79.6% of participants with LBP.
Mean value evidence of NRS was 2.66. The highest LBP risk over the 12 months was found in groups
with high job demand (OR = 1.18; 95%CI: 1.01 – 1.38), low decision-making opportunities (for
decision latitude OR = 0.87; (0-76 – 1.0), and low levels of physical activity (OR = 0.75; 95%CI:
0.64 – 0.89).

Conclusion: The working environment is a potential risk factor for the development of LBP and is
suitable for prevention programmes. The protective effect of physical activity and work-related
stress management indicate room for improvements for the prevention of LBP in these HCWs.

Conflicts of interest: None declared.




How to Cite

Brauneis, S., Sorrentino, E., Lisa, V. D., Galluccio, G., Piras, B., Carella, F., Palozzi, E., Generali, C., Maggiacomo, S., Aurelio, S., Backhaus, I., La Torre, F., Villani, C., & La Torre, G. (2023). Assessment of the prevalence and risk factors of low back pain in operating room health workers: An observational study in Italy. South Eastern European Journal of Public Health.



Original Research