Back pain occurred due to changes in routinary activities among Brazilian schoolteachers during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2021 Oct 15. doi: 10.1007/s00420-021-01793-w. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: This study’s main objective was to investigate the emergence of back pain as a consequence to changes in usual activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic among teachers in public schools in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 15,276 schoolteachers using an online questionnaire. The variables included sociodemographic and occupational data, health situation, habits and behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bivariate analyses using Pearson’s chi-square test and multiple analyses using Poisson regression were performed to identify the associated factors.

RESULTS: About 58% of schoolteachers reported back pain due to changes in routine activities during the pandemic. The adjusted model showed a correlation between back pain and female sex, longer working hours, overwork, difficulties concerning distance working, negative changes in health status and quality of sleep; frequent feeling of sadness, depression, or anxiety; use of medications to relax, sleep or against stress/anxiety/depression; physical inactivity or negative changes in the practice of physical activities; increased body weight; reduction of leisure time; increased time of use of computer or tablet and overload of housework.

CONCLUSION: During the COVID-19 pandemic, schoolteachers reported a high prevalence of emergence of back pain, which delineates a contradiction in terms: on the one hand, distance education allows social distancing that contributes to the preservation of teachers’ health by reducing the risk of contamination by COVID-19. On the other hand, it imposes new demands that-in disagreement with working conditions-can threaten the health of these workers.

PMID:34654944 | DOI:10.1007/s00420-021-01793-w