Flying Popular Helicopters (Collected Rotary Flight Test Articles, 2004 - 2011)


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To the best of our knowledge, no study has yet evaluated combined and 3-month pain prevalence for the neck, back and shoulder for Austrian helicopter pilots and crewmembers among several occupational groups. Therefore, the aim of this study was to estimate general musculoskeletal pain prevalences, particularly focusing on neck, shoulder and low back pain, and to evaluate potential neck pain risk factors among helicopter pilots and crewmembers within the Austrian armed forces, the Austrian airborne police and Austrian airborne rescue organizations.

This questionnaire-based cross sectional study was conducted within Austrian helicopter pilots and crewmembers from March to May Potential study participants were informed about the project and recruited at briefings, by emails and by telephone. In total, helicopter pilots and crewmembers from different professional sectors Austrian armed forces, Austrian airborne police and Austrian airborne rescue organizations agreed to participate in this study Inclusion criteria was a profession as a helicopter pilot or crewmember.

An online-based questionnaire was applied to all participants. The online questionnaire comprised two sections. In the second section, a modified version of the validated Nordic Musculoskeletal questionnaire [ 33 ] was used to assess prevalence and intensity of musculoskeletal symptoms pain in the following body regions: head, neck, shoulder, upper back, elbow, lower back, forearm, hip, knee and lower leg. In accordance to Murray et al.

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Participants who reported any pain frequency were further asked on pain occurrence in resting phase, during flying and on their possible inability to perform activities of daily living or working tasks interference with flying duty: yes or no; interference with leisure activity: yes or no. For the statistical analysis helicopter pilots and crewmembers were further divided into cases reporting any neck pain in the previous year and controls reporting no neck pain in the previous year. MP is a postdoc researcher in the field of injury prevention, epidemiology and exercise therapy.

BA is a biomechanics expert and registered physical therapist. WS is the head of the Austrian airborne police of the federal ministry of the interior and an experienced helicopter pilot. In order to quantify content validity for multi item scales of this questionnaire, the item content validity index I-CVI as well as the overall scale content validity index S-CVI were computed [ 35 , 36 ].

Pursuant to Polit et al. All items had an I-CVI of 0. Based on the expert ratings no items had to be discarded or improved and no further revisions were required. In total, seven flight-related risk variables and seven individual indicators were considered for the use in the risk factor analysis. Demographic data of study participants are presented as means and standard deviations as well as absolute and relative frequencies.

Factors with more than two categories helicopter type flown were binary coded for every single category to achieve univariate odds ratio OR. SPSS A total of helicopter pilots and crewmembers with a mean age of Most study participants worked in the air emergency sector The most frequent used type of helicopter was the EC The month prevalence of neck pain was Of these Furthermore, the majority of helicopter pilots had experienced 8—30 pain days among the shoulder As presented in Fig.

Of these crewmembers, Moreover, and 3-month pain prevalence of helicopter pilots and crewmembers among other anatomical locations are presented in Figs. For the total group, regardless if considering the month or 3-month prevalence, low back pain presents the second most frequent painful body region followed by the shoulder.

For helicopter pilots the 3-month prevalence of neck pain was Of these helicopter pilots, a minor part suffered from frequent pain few times per week in the previous three months among the neck Most crewmembers suffered from neck pain Similar to helicopter pilots, a small proportion of crewmembers reported frequent pain at the neck Self-reported interference with flying duty was not significantly different between crewmembers and pilots Although not significant, more crewmembers reported of an interference with leisure activity than helicopter pilots Both helicopter pilots and crewmembers reported pain occurrence most common during the resting phase compared to flying The risk of suffering a neck pain episode is 1.

Representing individual indicators, shoulder OR 4. Aim of the underlying study was to determine general musculoskeletal pain prevalence, particularly focusing on neck, shoulder and low back pain and to evaluate potential risk factors for neck pain among helicopter pilots and crewmembers within the Austrian armed forces, the Austrian airborne police and Austrian airborne rescue organizations.

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The main finding of this study was that the month neck pain prevalence is considerably high among both, helicopter pilots and crewmember Furthermore, the 3-month prevalence of neck pain was Regardless if considering the or 3-month prevalence, low back pain presents the second most common painful body part followed by the shoulder.

NVG use OR 1. Being the first study evaluating the combined and 3-month pain prevalence for the whole body, our results reveal the highest musculoskeletal pain prevalence for neck pain. The results of the underlying study seem to be higher compared to results of other studies by Thomae et al. Murray et al. While Van den Oord et al.