We are excited to share that Justine Bauer, an Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program student at the University of Minnesota, is collaborating with UMASH to complete her capstone project: an “Ergonomic Program for Crop Production Farmers Operating in Rural Communities in the Midwest.” Are you or someone you know a Midwestern crop farmer with work-related pain? Keep reading to find out how to participate!
Justine and the UMASH team identified a need to reduce rates of musculoskeletal disorders, injuries, and pain symptoms, especially in the lower back region among farmers. Crop production farmers, especially in rural, more remote communities, can be at high risk for these conditions due to the physical demands of their job paired with limited access to occupational support and resources.
During Justine’s capstone project, she will explore the following research questions:
- What risk factors may contribute to musculoskeletal disorders, injuries, and low back pain among crop farmers in the rural Midwest?
- What factors help and hinder crop farmers in implementing ergonomic strategies to reduce the risk of lower back pain during their work?
Help us understand pain and injury experiences for this type of work to develop strategies to alleviate and prevent them. If you’re a Midwestern crop farmer, at least 18 years old, who experiences work-related pain, please consider completing this 15-30 minute anonymous survey! If not, share it with a crop farmer in your life!
The survey responses will inform an individualized pilot program for crop farmers who experience lower back pain related to work tasks. Justine will use her occupational therapy training to provide recommendations to protect the low back region from pain or injury while crop farming. Justine will customize the recommendations to participant needs. They may include environmental and activity modifications, practicing safe body mechanics and postures, and utilizing adaptive equipment. After two site visits, follow-up phone interviews will help understand participant feedback and experiences regarding the feasibility of implementing the recommendations.