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Study: IAF helicopter pilots suffer back pain

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:06 pm    Post subject: Study: IAF helicopter pilots suffer back pain Reply with quote

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A majority of Indian military pilots flying Russian helicopters, Mi-8 and Mi-17 are suffering from various types of backache which could impact their overall performance, a study has found.
Focusing on different aspects of backache, including frequency, location, severity and relief measures, the study said back pain was recorded among 67.74 per cent and 75.0 per cent pilots flying Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters respectively.
A total of 55 helicopter pilots with the average age of 32.35 years and 29.0 years currently flying Mi-8 and Mi-17 respectively participated in the study.
The study, published in the latest edition of Indian Society of Aerospace journal, said majority of the pilots did not seek any medical consultation for their malady (Mi-8, 71.42 per cent, Mi-17, 66.66 per cent).
While 33.33 per cent Mi-8 pilots reportedly had pain almost every day and 23.8 per cent once a week, 27.77 per cent of Mi-17 pilots said they had occasional complaint of back pain and 22.22 per cent had pain only once in a week or even once in a quarter.
The commonest activity precipitating back pain was flying. Asked about the type of sorties that precipitate the pain, they identified the ferry or cross-country sorties as most notorious.
Majority of Mi-17 pilots (61.11 per cent) reported that the pain was likely to be precipitated after flying for more than two hours, as also reported by Mi-8 pilots (42.85 per cent) but an equal percentage of Mi-8 pilots reported onset of pain after flying for an hour.
The commonest location of the pain was the lower back with neck being the second common location as also the buttocks for Mi-17 pilots. Majority of the respondents reported relief from the pain between two to six hours after the sortie; and others found relief within two hours of landing.
Measure to obtain relief from the pain included either taking rest on hard bed or some spinal stretching exercise after the sortie.
Despite many of the pilots complaining of back pain, their response to a pointed question about seeking medical attention in the past 12 months showed that nearly 15 per cent pilots sought medical attention only once.
The questionnaire included flying and lifestyle related inputs, besides focusing on different aspects of backache, including the incidence, frequency, location, severity and measures sought for relief from the pain.
The study said a higher incidence of spine related disorders among helicopter pilots may be because of the vibration leading to cumulative load on the spine.
It suggested carrying out mandatory MRI scan at regular intervals for helicopter pilots based on cumulative flying hours.
Presently, IAF operates a 12 squadron strong fleet of MI-17 and MI-8 helicopters.
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 8132
Location: Mumbai, INDIA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its very common even with commercial flying crew too.
The contributing factor being the type of seat,Number of hrs of flying & rate of Climb/Descent.
Flight Ejection also is a huge cause too.
Think of the Brighter side !!!
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