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BACKGROUND: To explore the association of MRI-diagnosed severe lumbar spinal stenosis with occupation. METHODS: Occupational data were collected by questionnaire and all participants underwent spine MRI scans using the same protocol. Central lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) was graded qualitatively. Those with severe LSS (>two-thirds narrowing) were compared with the controls with lesser degrees of stenosis or no stenosis. RESULTS: Data were available for 722 subjects, mean age 70.1 years. 239 (33%) cases with severe LSS were identified. Factory/construction workers had an almost four-fold increased risk of severe LSS after adjustment for age, sex, smoking, and walking speed amongst those aged <75 years (OR 3.97, 95%CI 1.46-10.85). Severe LSS was also associated with squatting ≥1 h/day (OR 1.76, 95%CI 1.01-3.07) but this association became non-significant after adjustment. CONCLUSION: Further research is needed but this study adds more evidence that occupational factors are associated with an increased risk and/or severity of degenerative disease of the lumbar spine.

Original publication




Journal article


Am j ind med

Publication Date





430 - 438


Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), MRI, factory and construction workers, occupation, occupational exposures