Background: Urban taxi drivers differ from other professional drivers in their exposures to physical and psychosocial hazards in the work environment. Epidemiological data on low back pain (LBP) of this occupational group are very scarce. Aims: To examine LBP in taxi drivers and its association with prolonged driving and other occupational factors. Methods: We analyzed the cross-sectional data from the Taxi Drivers' Health Study. Standardized instruments were used to collect information on personal factors, work-related physical and psychosocial factors and driving time profiles. LBP prevalence was assessed using the modified Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire. Multiple logistic regression models were employed for statistical analyses. Results: Of 1242 drivers, 51% reported LBP in the past 12 months, significantly (P < 0.001) higher than other professional drivers (33%) in Taiwan. After adjusting for the effects of demographic characteristics, lifestyle factors, anthropometric measures and socioeconomic positions, we found that driving time >4 h/day [prevalence odds ratio (POR) 1.78; 95% CI 1.02-3.10], frequent bending/twisting activities while driving (adjusted OR 1.86; 95% CI 1.15-2.99), self-perceived job stress (POR 1.75; 95% CI 1.20-2.55), job dissatisfaction (POR 1.44; 95% CI 1.05-1.98) and registration type were the major occupational factors significantly associated with higher LBP prevalence in taxi drivers. Conclusions: We have identified that long driving time and several physical and psychosocial factors are associated with high prevalence of LBP in taxi drivers. This should be further investigated in prospective studies. Future studies are needed to examine the potential adverse effects of prolonged exposure to low levels of whole-body vibration.
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