Use of a job exposure matrix to predict the risk of work disability in individuals with back pain: An inception cohort study

David Fauser, Julia-Marie Zimmer, Hannes Banaschak, André Golla, Annika Sternberg, Wilfried Mau, Matthias Bethge


BACKGROUND: Low back pain has a high economic burden in Germany due to back pain-related sick leave, disability pensions, and health care utilization. Work-related factors can predict disabling back pain. Job exposure matrices can be used to consider job demands and occupational characteristics in routine data analysis.

OBJECTIVE: This longitudinal analysis tested whether rehabilitation utilization due to musculoskeletal disorders is associated with occupation-linked job exposures in employees with back pain.

METHODS: Data from a German cohort study were used, including employees aged 45 to 59 years with self-reported back pain in the last three months. Individuals' job titles were assessed in the baseline survey in 2017 and matched with parameters of aggregated job exposure indices. Administrative data from the German Pension Insurance were used to extract information on rehabilitation utilization. Proportional hazard models tested the associations.

RESULTS: We considered data of 6,569 participants (mean age: 52.3 years; 57.7% women). During follow-up, with a maximum of 21 months, 296 individuals (4.5%) utilized medical rehabilitation due to musculoskeletal disorders. Adjusted analyses showed that high physical (HR = 2.87; 95% CI 1.74; 4.75) and overall (HR = 2.34; 95% CI 1.44; 3.80) job exposures were associated with a higher risk of rehabilitation utilization.

CONCLUSION: Individuals with back pain working in occupations with high physical job exposures have a higher risk for rehabilitation utilization. To prevent work disability in individuals with back pain, occupational groups with high physical job exposures should be actively informed about tailored intervention options.

Seiten (von - bis)1-11
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 02.2024

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  • Profilbereich: Zentrum für Bevölkerungsmedizin und Versorgungsforschung (ZBV)