Authors: Viktória D. Szűcs, Balázs Ádám, Károly Nagy
Introduction. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), especially low back pain (LBP) are common occupational health problems for vehicle drivers all over the world. However, few epidemiological studies have investigated MSDs and LBP among professional taxi drivers, and no studies have dealt with the problem in Hungary so far. Objective of this study was to investigate the role of occupational risk factors in the aetiology of certain MSDs among Hungarian taxi drivers and to assess the actual situation of their LBP from the perspective of their working conditions.
Methods. A questionnaire survey was carried out among taxi drivers in Nyíregyháza city, Hungary, to collect information on demographic characteristics, working conditions, health behaviour and lifestyle factors, health status including the presence of MSDs, the severity of LBP based on Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) score and the level of physical disability based on the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) score.
Results. The total number of valid responses was 88 from 117 taxi drivers approached, giving a participation rate of 75.21%. The self-reported lifetime prevalence of MSDs was 73.86%, among which LBP had the highest prevalence with 61.36%. The average VAS score was 5.94/10, the average RMDQ score was 6.44/24 among taxi drivers with LBP. There was a positive correlation between the VAS and RMDQ scores with a correlation coefficient of 0.445 and a regression coefficient of 0.217 (p < 0.001). Logistic regression analysis adjusted for age and BMI revealed that badly designed driver’s seat (OR = 5.53; 95% CI: 1.76 - 17.34) and perception of mental stress (OR = 4.59; 95% CI: 1.28 - 16.46 for feeling mental stress rarely and OR= 27.39; 95% CI: 2.90 - 258.79 for feeling mental stress often while driving) were risk factors of MSDs, and similarly, badly designed driver’s seat (OR = 2.90; 95% CI: and higher degree of mental stress (OR = 45.87; 95% CI: 5.05 - 416.50 for often feeling of mental stress and OR = 15.28; 95% CI: 1.43 - 162.98 for feeling mental stress always while driving) were also risk factors for LBP.
Conclusions. The prevalence of MSDs and LBP among professional taxi drivers in Hungary was associated with several occupational risk factors. The study provides data to inform targeted health interventions for improving the health and safety of taxi drivers.