The Polish Journal of Aviation Medicine, Bioengineering and Psychology

Kwartalnik Polskiego Towarzystwa Medycyny Lotniczej

2012, Volume 18, Issue 1

Back pain in Polish military transport aircrafts pilots

Mieczysław Wojtkowiak1, Olaf Truszczyński2, Rafał Lewkowicz3
1Zakład Fizjologii Lotniczej, Wojskowy Instytut Medycyny Lotniczej
2Zakład Bezpieczeństwa Lotów, Wojskowy Instytut Medycyny Lotniczej
3Zakład Treningu Lotniczo-Lekarskiego, Wojskowy Instytut Medycyny Lotniczej

Autor korenspondencyjny: Mieczysław Wojtkowiak; Zakład Fizjologii Lotniczej, Wojskowy Instytut Medycyny Lotniczej; email: mwojtkow[at]wiml.waw.pl

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Intrroduction. Back pain is more and more frequently reported by military pilots as a serious problem which requires a quick solution. Back pain impedes body movements. Therefore, it affects precision of flight control and increases pilots’ fatigue. Moreover, it requires a high degree of concentration. Analysis of this problem has been a subject of studies carried out in the Polish pilots of the military transport aircraft. Objectives: The study aimed at getting information about the scope of this problem including back pain incidence, localization, severity during flights, and the effect on aircraft control. Material and Methods:The authors performed a questionnaire survey which involved 60 pilots. The questionnaire contained 21 questions concerning pain onset in various segments of the spine or complaints concerning mainly the muscular system and defined as the level of discomfort. Some questions were also related to the development of pain during flight, after its completion and in everyday life. Results: Forty-four respondents reported back pain of various severities. Fourteen pilots reported severe back pain, while thirty pilots reported the sense of discomfort. Twenty-six pilots reported frequent back pain during the flight as well as its persistence - seven pilots. No back pain was reported in 16 pilots. Conclusions: Back pain during the flights affected pilots’ activity but not specifically the flight. The most frequent causes of back pain were uncomfortable posture and intensive, long-haul flights. Back pain was diminished by preventive measures, such as physical exercises and rehabilitation.

Słowa kluczowe

spine pain, causes, pilots, transport aircrafts