AbstractLow-back problems (LBP) are one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders in the general population, with reported lifetime prevalences of 50% to 80%. Also certain sports (e.g., gymnastics, alpine skiing, running) are at risk of LBP and its repercussions. This preliminary epidemiological study was undertaken to examine the lifetime and one-year prevalence of LBP among recreational Flemish scuba divers and to identify general and sport-specific risk factors associated with the occurrence of LBP.
A retrospective self-assessment questionnaire was developed and assessed for validity and reliability, to gather data concerning demographics, general risk factors of LBP, injuries, properties of scuba diving, prevalence and characteristics of LBP among active scuba divers. A total of 181 recreational scuba divers (men: n = 138, mean age 40.3 ± 12.8 years; women: n = 43, mean age 35.0 ± 10.9 years) were randomly selected in 10 (inter)nationally recognized scuba diving clubs and participated in the study. Lifetime and one-year prevalence of LBP among recreational Flemish scuba divers were respectively, 55.8% and 50.3%. Within the group of scuba divers with LBP, 41.8 % reported a relationship between LBP and scuba diving activities. No significant differences in general risk factors for LBP could be found between the groups (p > 0.05). When considering sport-specific risk factors, scuba divers suffering from LBP generally had a significant higher dive certificate than subjects without LBP (p = 0.007). Symptomatic scuba divers also used significantly more weights on their weight belts during indoor training (p = 0.003) and during outdoor dives with a dry suit (p = 0.044) as compared to asymptomatic scuba divers.
In scuba diving, LBP gives reason for moderate concern. Sport-specific risk factors for LBP found in this study are not convincing. Further (biomechanical) research is required to point out whether or not scuba diving characteristics actually contribute to LBP.
|Date of Award||Sep 2005|
|Supervisor||Romain Meeusen (Promotor) & Elke Cumps (Co-promotor)|