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Article
March 10, 1956

PREEMPLOYMENT EXAMINATIONS OF THE LOW BACK

JAMA. 1956;160(10):856-858. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960450038009
Abstract

• Examination of 6,523 prospective employees revealed congenital anomalies of the lumbosacral region in 41% and other abnormalities in 19%. In a former series of 3,587 employees who sought treatment for low back pain or disability, the group having congenital defects was likewise the largest, with 31%. The three most frequent congenital defects were malformed lumbosacral articulating facets, spina bifida occulta of the first sacral segment, and supernumerary lumbar vertebrae.

Most applicants were not aware of the weakness. Preemployment examination, followed either by rejection or by assignment to limited duty when indicated, costs little as compared to the dollars and man-days saved by reducing the incidence of reported low back injuries.

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