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Symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders in stage rally drivers and co-drivers
  1. N J Mansfield,
  2. J M Marshall
  1. Department of Human Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, UK
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Mansfield n.j.mansfield{at}


Background—During stage rallying, musculoskeletal injuries may be provoked by the high magnitude of vibration and shock to which the driver and co-driver are exposed. Drivers and co-drivers experience similar exposure to whole body mechanical shocks and vibration but different exposure to hand/wrist stressors.

Objectives—To investigate by a questionnaire study the prevalence of symptoms of musculoskeletal injuries after rallying in 13 professional and 105 amateur stage rally competitors.

Methods—The self administered questionnaire investigated whole body and hand/wrist symptoms of musculoskeletal injury. It was loosely based on the Nordic design.

Results—91% of participants who competed or tested for more than 10 days a year (n=90) reported discomfort in at least one body area after rallying. Problems in the lumbar spine (70%), cervical spine (54%), shoulders (47%), and thoracic spine (36%) were the most common. There was a higher prevalence of cervical spine discomfort for co-drivers (62%) than for drivers (46%). Conversely, there was higher prevalence of discomfort in the hands and wrists for drivers (32%) than co-drivers (9%). The prevalence of low back pain in rally participants is higher than that generally reported for workers exposed to whole body vibration. The prevalence of discomfort in the hand and wrist for rally drivers is similar to that previously reported for Formula 1 drivers.

Conclusions—Most stage rally drivers and co-drivers report symptoms of musculoskeletal injury. It is logical to relate the high prevalence of symptoms of injury to the extreme environment of the rally car.

  • musculoskeletal injury
  • vibration
  • rally car
  • motor sport

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