A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Truck Seat Intervention: Part 2-Associations Between Whole-Body Vibration Exposures and Health Outcomes.Ann Work Expo Health. 2018 10 15; 62(8):1000-1011.AW
This randomized controlled trial study was conducted to determine whether two different seating interventions would reduce exposure to whole-body vibration (WBV) and improve associated health outcomes. Forty professional truck drivers were randomly assigned to two groups: (i) a control group of 20 drivers who received a new, industry-standard air-suspension seat, and (ii) an intervention group of 20 drivers who received an active-suspension seat. This study collected regional body pain (10-point scale), low back disability [Oswestry Disability Index (ODI)], physical and mental health [the Short Form 12-item Health Survey (SF-12)], and work limitations [Work Limitation Questionnaire (WLQ)] before and 3, 6, and 12 months after the seating intervention. WBV exposures were also collected during the same time periods. Due to dropouts at the 12-month time period, only data up to 6 months post-intervention were included in the analyses. The post-intervention A(8) WBV exposures were lower in both groups with a more substantial WBV exposure reduction (~50%) in the intervention group compared to the control group (~26%). There was little to no change in the impulsive exposures [VDV(8) and Sed(8)] post-intervention and no differences between the two groups. The self-reported musculoskeletal health outcomes showed that intervention group experienced a greater reduction in the low back pain (LBP) and other musculoskeletal outcomes than the control group. The LBP reduction in the intervention group was clinically meaningful (>25%); however, none of the changes in pain reached statistical significance (P's > 0.22). The SF-12 health scores demonstrated that the intervention group's physical health improved after the intervention (P's < 0.06) while the control group experience little to no improvement (P's > 0.11). The WLQ scores showed that the intervention group generally experienced reduced (improved) work limitation over time whereas the control group showed inconsistent changes in work limitation scores. These study findings indicate that reducing truck drivers' exposure to WBV through seating intervention can lead to improvements in LBP and other health outcomes.