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Functional test measures as risk indicators for low back pain among fixed-wing military pilots
  1. Tuomas Honkanen1,
  2. H Kyröläinen2,
  3. J Avela2 and
  4. M Mäntysaari1
  1. 1Aeromedical Centre, Centre for Military Medicine, The Finnish Defence Forces, Helsinki, Finland
  2. 2Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
  1. Correspondence to Tuomas Honkanen, Aeromedical Centre, Centre for Military Medicine, The Finnish Defence Forces, P.O. Box 50, Helsinki FI-00301, Finland; tuomas.honkanen{at}


Purpose The purpose of this study was to find out the risk value of functional fitness test (FFT) results for low back pain (LBP) among fixed-wing military pilots.

Methods A total of 104 male military pilots were recruited for this study. The study was conducted with a self-administered questionnaire and FFT. The functional tests were performed in the beginning of study (baseline). The questionnaire was carried out at the baseline and 5 years later.

Results The isometric low back endurance test result was associated with physical activity-related LBP experienced 5 years later. Demographic information was not associated with LBP. The prevalence of overall LBP was 71% and the flight-related LBP prevalence was 31% at the baseline.

Discussion Our findings show that LBP among military pilots is a common problem but it is also associated with tasks other than flying. The functional test results were not associated with flight-related LBP but adequate isometric back endurance may have protective role in LBP caused in physical activities. When trying to find the pilots with increased risk of flight-related LBP, a more sensitive set of tests should be considered.

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  • Contributors All authors have contributed in planning and reporting in this study. TH has been responsible for data collection and statistical analyses with the help of statistician (from Jyväskylä University). TH is responsible for the overall content as guarantor.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The Ethical Committee of the Central Finland Health Care District.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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