Off-campus Pacific University users: To download campus access theses and dissertations, please log into our proxy server with your PUNet ID and password.

Non-Pacific University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis or dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Theses or dissertations that have a specific embargo period indicated below will not be available to anyone until the date indicated.

Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

First Advisor

Daiva A Banaitis, PhD, PT

Second Advisor

Alta Hansen, PhD, PT


The purpose of this study was to examine the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders in airline pilots. Data were collected on fifty-one male airline pilots (31 Captains, 20 First Officers) with 1 to 31 flying years with an airline, who were recruited at a major international airport in the United States. Each pilot completed a survey that gathered personal descriptive data, location of any type of pain experienced while flying and attitudes towards medical intervention. Each pilot's grip strength and lumbar spine range of motion (ROM) were also measured. The results of this descriptive study reveal that this is a very motivated occupation group that takes an active role in its healthcare. This study also revealed the airline pilots have a high incidence of musculoskeletal pain that is negatively correlated to lumbar spine ROM (r=-.80). Airline pilots also have different grip strength measures and patterns when compared to normalized data. The information gathered gives adequate evidence to support the need for specific intervention strategies to decrease the incidence of cumulative traumas to the musculoskeletal system of the airline pilot. Such strategies might increase flight safety and years of productive flying as well as decrease sick time and medical expenses.


The digital version of this project is currently unavailable to off-campus users not affiliated with Pacific University; however, it may be accessed on campus or through interlibrary loan (for eligible borrowers) from Pacific University Library. Pacific University Library is a free lender.