APH 2003, 61, 215-222:
selection of clinical tests to be assessed in a prospective investigation aimin
at predicting back problems among healthy workers.
A. Van Cauwenbergh, G. Vandersmissen,
T. Dohogne, P. Jacques, G. Moens
back pain, clinical tests,
To select clinical tests that are able to discriminate between workers
with and without back problems. In a second stage, the predictive
value of this selection for back problems among current non-complainers,
is being assessed in a prospective investigation. This paper only
reports on the first (pilot) stage of the study.
Methods: 174 healthy female family care workers underwent
a series of clinical tests, possibly related to back problems, and
the prevalence of clinical back abnormalities was calculated. Additional
data were collected by questionnaire. The association between clinical
test results and complaints was examined by means of the chi-square-test
and the Mann Whitney u-test. A selection of 32 tests, based on statistical
and clinical grounds, was submitted to a discriminant analysis to
evaluate the ability to discriminate between complainers and non-complainers.
Results: The most remarkable result was the statistically
significant association between hypermobility and absence of back
pain during the last year. The strongest statistical associations
existed between back pain and low lumbar, lumbosacral and buttock
tenderness. A selection of 32 tests was able to correctly classify
persons with current back pain in 83%, with pain during the last year
in 89% and with pain during the last year with absence from work in
88% of cases.
Conclusion: Our limited series of tests is sufficient
to discriminate the majority of asymptomatic subjects from those with
previous or current back pain. However, the predictive value of this
selection of tests is now being investigated.