Association between occupational exposures and chronic low back pain: Protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review


  • Alexander Jahn - , Aarhus University (Author)
  • Johan Hviid Andersen - , Aarhus University, University Research Clinic (Author)
  • David Høyrup Christiansen - , Aarhus University (Author)
  • Andreas Seidler - , Institute and Policlinic of Occupational and Social Medicine (Author)
  • Annett Dalbøge - , Aarhus University (Author)


Introduction The association between occupational mechanical exposures and chronic low back pain (LBP) has been widely studied, however, few systematic reviews have evaluated the evidence of an association. Furthermore, little is known of the impact of occupational psychosocial exposures on chronic LBP. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to study the association between occupational mechanical and psychosocial exposures and chronic LBP. Methods The study will be conducted as a systematic review using another systematic review published in 2014 as basis and has been registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) with registration number CRD42021281996. A systematic literature search will be performed in 6 scientific databases to identified potential relevant studies published after 2014. Studies will systematically be excluded through a screening process performed independently by 2 reviewers. Exposures will include occupational mechanical and psychosocial exposures, and outcome will include chronic LBP (LBP ≥3 months, “degenerative” diseases, and lumbosacral radiculopathy). Study population will include persons in or above working age, and study designs will comprise cohort and case-control studies. The quality of each included study will be methodologically assessed by 2 independent reviewers and level of evidence of an association will be graded using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) system. In meta-analyses, effect sizes will be addressed using random-effect models, sensitivity analyses will explore the robustness of the meta-analysis, and heterogeneity assessed. Discussion This systematic review and meta-analysis will assess the evidence available of the association between occupational mechanical and psychosocial exposures and chronic LBP. The review can provide essential knowledge on the association, exposure-response relationships, thresholds, which may pave the way for political decisions on the occupational environment and the labour market insurance policy.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0285327
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

External IDs

PubMed 37146040
WOS 001024721000001


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Humans, Low Back Pain/epidemiology, Systematic Reviews as Topic, Meta-Analysis as Topic, Occupational Exposure/adverse effects, Radiculopathy, Occupational Diseases/epidemiology, Lost productive time