Dynamic Disc Designs
Occupational low back pain

A bibliometric analysis of occupational low back pain studies from 2000 to 2020

Goal of the Study?

In this Bibliometric Analysis [A bibliometric analysis of occupational low back pain studies from 2000 to 2020] the authors used two bibliometric tools; BibExcel and CiteSpace to examine 4,217 documents related to occupational low back pain (OLBP).  Bibliometric Analysis (BA) is the application of statistical methods and visualization tools to analyze books, articles and other publications.  BA attempts to put the articles into a series of clusters.  These clusters can be based on themes, country of origin, journal name, publication date, research institute, authors and something called co-citation.  Co-citation cluster analysis is the frequency of which two articles are cited together in the same document.  


Why are they doing this study?

Bibliometric Analysis of OLBP shows where the studies were done, who was doing the research, which industries dominated the high prevalence of OLBP and what was the research tendency over time.  Using bibliometric analysis can help researchers grasp the research structure and latest trends of OLBP.


What was done?

Over 4,000 articles from 2000 to 2020 were fed into the BibExcel and CiteSpace tools.  These articles were all from the subscription-based Web of Science academic database.  Terms related to OLBP were used to identify each article.  These articles were downloaded and fed through the two bibliometric tools identifying various clusters.


What did they find?

On a country basis, the BA analysis found that the USA, Canada and UK produced the highest number of contributions to OLBP research in the Web of Science databases.  Ontario’s Institute of Work & Heath was the most prolific institution producing over 70 articles on OLBP.  Other Canadian institutions making the top 10 were the University of Waterloo (#7), University of Toronto (#9) and University of Alberta (#10).  The top 2 contributing journals were the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation (203 documents) and Spine (200 documents). 
Fifteen major OLBP research theme clusters were identified.  The two most popular ones were Musculoskeletal Disorder (227 documents) and Risk Factors (212 documents).  The two most recent themes were Biopsychosocial Approach and Core Outcome.


Why do these findings matter?

Occupational low back pain (OLBP) is regarded as one of the most common work-related musculoskeletal disorders.  OLBP not only has huge direct and indirect economic losses but is also responsible for the decline of quality of life.  Comprehensive bibliometric studies, such as this, provide general insight into aggregate performance in the OLBP field and can help identify further research directions.