Analysis of postural changes of the spine, musculoskeletal pain, and work activity in walking letter carriers

Francini Porcher Andrade, Joel H. do Nascimento Navarro, Luisa Braga Jorge, Cristiane Fernanda Gessinger

Abstract


Aims: To assess postural changes of the spine in walking letter carriers with musculoskeletal pain and check their association with positions taken during work activity.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study of both male and female letter carriers with musculoskeletal pain in the spine. All subjects completed a questionnaire to indicate the location and severity of pain and were subjected to a photogrammetric  analysis of their posture and of their work activity. The chi-square test was applied for stratified analysis and Student’s t test was used to compare spinal angles in individuals with and without pain in the same region. A p value equal to or less than 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.

Results: A total of 20 walking letter carriers were assessed. The mean lumbar lordotic angle of the seven patients with pain in the cervical spine was 41.3±15.0° while in the 13 individuals without pain in this region it was 22.8±10.8º (p=0.005). The presence of thoracic or lumbar pain had no significant association with the angle of the kyphotic and lordotic curvature, respectively. The assessment of the frontal plane posture of letter carriers revealed that 16 (80%) had some kind of scoliosis. The analysis of work-relatedness indicated that eight (40%) strapped the mail bag crosswise to the left, five (25%) wore it crosswise to the right, four (20%) slung the mail bag over their right shoulder, and three (15%) carried it on their left shoulder. No statistically significant difference was observed in postural changes on the frontal plane associated with how the mail bags were carried.

Conclusions: There was a significant association between the presence of pain in the cervical spine and a more pronounced curvature in this region. 


Keywords


photogrammetry; musculoskeletal pain; posture; spine; physical therapy specialty.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15448/1980-6108.2016.1.21650

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