Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Ind Med. 2001 Sep;40(3):275-81.

Factors associated with medical care-seeking due to low-back pain in scaffolders.

Author information

  • 1Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



Few studies have demonstrated the consequences of having back pain and the mechanisms underlying decisions to seek medical care. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of back pain and other musculoskeletal complaints and to identify factors that determine specific type of care-seeking due to back pain among scaffolders.


A cross-sectional study was conducted among 323 scaffolders. A questionnaire was used to collect data on musculoskeletal complaints and type of medical care sought. Logistic regression analysis was performed to study the risk factors for care-seeking for LBP, estimating Prevalence Ratios (PR) as a measure of association.


The prevalence of musculoskeletal complaints was high. Severe back pain was reported by 28% of the scaffolders, LBP with sciatic pain by 23%, with sickness absence by 21%, with disability by 21%, and chronic back pain by 14%. Back pain was often accompanied by complaints of neck, shoulder, or knee. A general practitioner was sought by 44% of the workers with LBP, a physiotherapist by 22%, an occupational physician by 20%, and a specialist by 11%. The nature and severity of back pain seemed to determine the decision to visit the GP. Irradiating pain and sickness absence were the strongest predictors for seeking medical care and being referred to a specialist or physiotherapist.


The particular definition of back pain and the selection process of workers with LBP may partly determine the findings on work-related risk factors and health care utilization.

Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk