From: University of Saskatchewan
Published June 21, 2017 08:04 AM

Vibrations can be bad for farmers' backs

Researcher Catherine Trask and recent master’s graduate Xiaoke Zeng have found that farmers experience prolonged “body shock” when riding horses or driving farming machinery on uneven terrain during an average workday. Whole body vibration is a major risk factor for developing back pain, they say.  

“Farmers are often unaware that body vibration from machinery use is a potentially harmful physical hazard,” said Trask, U of S Canada Research Chair in Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Health.  

Almost 20 per cent of Canadians are affected by back pain, costing the Canadian healthcare system up to $12 million per year. Compared to people in cities, people in rural areas are 30 per cent more likely to experience chronic back pain.

In a 2015 study on 2,600 Saskatchewan farmers, Trask’s team reported that almost 60 per cent experience low back pain, apparently a much higher incidence than in the general population. This causes farmers to reduce the amount of work they do daily in 30 per cent of the most severe cases — up to eight times more than in any other profession, a 2001 study on American farmers states.

 

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Photo via University of Saskatchewan.

 

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