Back pain caused by whole body vibration

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

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There are numerous risk factors for the development of low back pain. Among these are sports such as bowling, golf, tennis, baseball, skiing, snowboarding, running, and biking.

In a classic review, Vingard and Naxchemson described other risk factors including, “whole body vibrations”, frequent bending, twisting of the trunk, frequent heavy lifting, and poor psychosocial conditions.

Another study by Frymoyer and Pope noted that heavy lifting, use of jack hammers, long rides in motor vehicles, jogging, cross-

country skiing, weak trunk (core) strength, and smoking were associated with an increased risk of back pain.

Heavy equipment operators seem to be particularly at risk. It is hypothesized that this occurs because the sitting position leads to increased pressure throughout the vertebral column and the vibration of the seat further stresses the supporting structures of the low back.

Frymoyer JW, Pope MH, Clements JH, et al. J Bone Joint Surg 65: 213; 1983

Vingarde E, Nachemson AL, Jonsson E (eds): Neck and Back pain: The scientific evidence of causes, diagnosis, and treatment. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 2000, pp 97-126.

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