Low back pain in Military pilots

January 26, 2022

Niseko Chiropractic research review

We have been seeing quite a few US military pilots down in Sunabe Okinawa and it perked our interest to do a bit more study. It turns out lower back pain is responsible for about 75% of non-combative injury discharge cases so there is great merit in getting this right.

It turns out lower back pain is very common with a recent study of Chinese Military pilots with a recent study finding that on average around 1 in 3 ( 37%)  of Pilots experience episodes of lower back pain with the highest being military helicopter pilots ( 45% ).

Fighter pilots experienced more issues do the G force and helicopter pilots were thought to get more problems from the vibrations transmitted through the cabin.

Flying more than 6 hours a week seemed to lead to greater risk in fighter pilots and but interestingly in helicopter pilots the number of flying hours did not correlate with a change in lower back pain.

The authors of the study concluded that preventing lower back pain in pilots is going to take a combination of managing the correct amount of flying hours, active rehab with focusing on hip muscles and some further core training.

Further research looking at weather this is replicated in the US military experience is needed.



Yang, Y., Liu, S., Ling, M., & Ye, C. (2022). Prevalence and Potential Risk Factors for Occupational Low Back Pain Among Male Military Pilots: A Study Based on Questionnaire and Physical Function Assessment. Frontiers in public health9, 744601. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.744601








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