Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the main reason for morbidity during military training. MSDs commonly result in functional impairment leading to premature discharge from military service and disabilities requiring long-term rehabilitation. The purpose of the study was to examine associations between various risk factors and MSDs with special attention to the physical fitness of the conscripts.
Two successive cohorts of 18 to 28-year-old male conscripts (N = 944, median age 19) were followed for six months. MSDs, including overuse and acute injuries, treated at the garrison clinic were identified and analysed. Associations between MSDs and risk factors were examined by multivariate Cox's proportional hazard models.
During the six-month follow-up of two successive cohorts there were 1629 MSDs and 2879 health clinic visits due to MSDs in 944 persons. The event-based incidence rate for MSD was 10.5 (95% confidence interval (CI): 10.0-11.1) per 1000 person-days. Most MSDs were in the lower extremities (65%) followed by the back (18%). The strongest baseline factors associated with MSDs were poor result in the combined outcome of a 12-minute running test and back lift test (hazard ratio (HR) 2.9; 95% CI: 1.9-4.6), high waist circumference (HR 1.7; 95% CI: 1.3-2.2), high body mass index (HR 1.8; 95% CI: 1.3-2.4), poor result in a 12-minute running test (HR 1.6; 95% CI: 1.2-2.2), earlier musculoskeletal symptoms (HR 1.7; 95% CI: 1.3-2.1) and poor school success (educational level and grades combined; HR 2.0; 95% CI: 1.3-3.0). In addition, risk factors of long-term MSDs (≥10 service days lost due to one or several MSDs) were analysed: poor result in a 12-minute running test, earlier musculoskeletal symptoms, high waist circumference, high body mass index, not belonging to a sports club and poor result in the combined outcome of the 12-minute running test and standing long jump test were strongly associated with long-term MSDs.
The majority of the observed risk factors are modifiable and favourable for future interventions. An appropriate intervention based on the present study would improve both aerobic and muscular fitness prior to conscript training. Attention to appropriate waist circumference and body mass index would strengthen the intervention. Effective results from well-planned randomised controlled studies are needed before initiating large-scale prevention programmes in a military environment.
The rapidly increasing number of activity-induced musculoskeletal injuries among adolescents and young adults is currently a true public health burden. The objective of this study was to investigate whether a neuromuscular training programme with injury prevention counselling is effective in preventing acute musculoskeletal injuries in young men during military service.
The trial design was a population-based, randomised study. Two successive cohorts of male conscripts in four companies of one brigade in the Finnish Defence Forces were first followed prospectively for one 6-month term to determine the baseline incidence of injury. After this period, two new successive cohorts in the same four companies were randomised into two groups and followed prospectively for 6 months. Military service is compulsory for about 90% of 19-year-old Finnish men annually, who comprised the cohort in this study. This randomised, controlled trial included 968 conscripts comprising 501 conscripts in the intervention group and 467 conscripts in the control group. A neuromuscular training programme was used to enhance conscripts' motor skills and body control, and an educational injury prevention programme was used to increase knowledge and awareness of acute musculoskeletal injuries. The main outcome measures were acute injuries of the lower and upper limbs.
In the intervention groups, the risk for acute ankle injury decreased significantly compared to control groups (adjusted hazards ratio (HR) = 0.34, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) = 0.15 to 0.78, P = 0.011). This risk decline was observed in conscripts with low as well as moderate to high baseline fitness levels. In the latter group of conscripts, the risk of upper-extremity injuries also decreased significantly (adjusted HR = 0.37, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.99, P = 0.047). In addition, the intervention groups tended to have less time loss due to injuries (adjusted HR = 0.55, 95% CI 0.29 to 1.04).
A neuromuscular training and injury prevention counselling programme was effective in preventing acute ankle and upper-extremity injuries in young male army conscripts. A similar programme could be useful for all young individuals by initiating a regular exercise routine.
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier number NCT00595816.
There is evidence that low back pain (LBP) during young adulthood and military service predicts LBP later in life. The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence and trends of LBP hospitalisation among Finnish military conscripts.
All male conscripts performing their compulsory military service during 1990–2002 were included in the study population. Altogether 387,070 military conscripts were followed throughout their six-to-twelve-month service period. Data on LBP hospitalisations were obtained from the National Hospital Discharge Register.
Altogether 7,240 LBP hospitalisations were identified among 5,061 (1.3%) male conscripts during the study period. The event-based incidence of LBP hospitalisation was 27.0 (95% confidence interval (CI): 25.7–28.2). In most cases, the diagnosis was unspecified LBP (n = 5,141, 71%) followed by lumbar disc disorders (n = 2,069, 29%). Hospitalisation incidence due to unspecified LBP was 19.1 per 1,000 person-years (95% CI: 18.3 to 20.4), and 7.8 per 1,000 person-years (95% CI: 6.7 to 8.3) due to lumbar disc disorders. The incidence of unspecified LBP remained unaltered, while hospitalisation due to lumbar disc disorders declined from 1993 onwards.
Although conscripts accepted into military training pass physician-performed examinations as healthy, young adults, LBP hospitalisation causes significant morbidity during military service.
Not much is known about musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in peacekeeping missions and to what extent such conditions are disabling. The objective of this study was to assess the occurrence and severity of MSD in Swedish military personnel on 6 months duty in Afghanistan.
When returning from Afghanistan 440 individuals received a questionnaire including questions about pain conditions during their mission abroad. A manikin was used to mark the area(s) in pain and which body area had bothered them the most. A modified version of chronic pain questionnaire was used to assess pain and disability.
The response rate was 78% (n = 344). Any MSD during the 6 months was reported by 70% (95% CI 65–75). The three most bothersome areas were lumbar spine [17% (95% CI 13–20)], shoulders [17% (95% CI 13–21)] and lower extremities [14% (95% CI 11–18)]. 57% (95% CI 49–65) had grade I pain (low pain/low disability), 36% (95% CI 28–45) had grade II pain (high pain/low disability) and 5% (95% CI 3–10) had grade III pain (any pain/high disability). Of all MSD, more than half were new episodes since arrival and gradual onset was common.
Musculoskeletal pain was common during peacekeeping mission and gradual onset was dominating. Most often, it did not affect the daily activities. Nevertheless, it may be of important to consider broadening the medical disciplines onsite to provide preventive measures and treatment at an early stage, and thereby reducing the risk of chronicity.
Military; Musculoskeletal; Pain; Lumbar spine; Disability; Peacekeeping
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) due to repetitive work are common in manufacturing industries, such as the automotive industry. However, it's still unclear which MSDs of the upper limb are to be expected in the automotive industry in a first aid unit as well as in occupational precaution examinations. It is also unclear which examination method could be performed effectively for practical reasons and under rehabilitation aspects. Additionally, it was to discuss whether the conception of unspecific description for MSDs has advantages or disadvantages in contrast to a precise medical diagnosis.
We investigated the health status of two study populations working at two automotive plants in Germany. The first part included 67 consecutive patients who were seen for acute or chronic MSDs at the forearm over a 4-month period at the plants' medical services. Information about patients' working conditions and musculoskeletal symptoms was obtained during a standardized interview, which was followed by a standardized orthopedic-chiropractic physical examination. In the second part, 209 workers with daily exposure to video display terminals (VDT) completed a standardized questionnaire and were examined with function-oriented muscular tests on the occasion of their routine occupational precaution medical check-up.
The majority of the 67 patients seen by the company's medical services were blue-collar works from the assembly lines and trainees rather than white-collar workers from offices. Rates of musculoskeletal complaints were disproportionately higher among experienced people performing new tasks and younger trainees. The most common MSD in this group were disorders of flexor tendons of the forearm. By contrast, among the 209 employees working at VDT disorders of the neck and shoulders were more common than discomfort in the forearm. A positive tendency between restricted rotation of the cervical vertebrae and years worked at VDT was observed. In addition, only less than 8% of unspecific disorders of the upper limb (esp. wrist and forearm) were found.
Functional tests for the upper limb seemed to be very helpful to give precise medical advice to the employees to prevent individual complaints. The results are also helpful for developing specific training programs before beginning new tasks as well as for rehabilitation reasons. There's no need to use uncertain terminology (such as RSI) as it may not be representative of the actual underlying disorders as diagnosed by more thorough physical examinations.
OBJECTIVE--To determine the incidence of and the risk factors for local cold injuries of the face and ears in peacetime military service. DESIGN--Prospective, controlled epidemiological study using a questionnaire. SETTING--Finnish defence forces, 1976-89. SUBJECTS--913 young male conscripts with local frostbite of the head that needed medical attention and 2478 uninjured control conscripts. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Type of activity, clothing, and other risk factors at the time of cold injury. Odds ratios were used to calculate risk. Controls were handled as one group. RESULTS--The mean annual incidence of frostbite was 1.8 per 1000 conscripts. Frostbite of the ear was most common (533 conscripts (58%)), followed by frostbite of the nose (197 (22%)) and of the cheeks and other regions of the face (183 (20%)). Most conscripts (803 (88%)) had mild or superficial frostbite. Risk factors included not wearing a hat with earflaps (odds ratio 18.5 for frostbite of the ear); not wearing a scarf (odds ratio 2.1 and 3.8 for frostbite of the ear and cheeks respectively); using protective ointments (odds ratio 3.3, 4.5, and 5.6 for frostbite of the cheeks, ear, and nose respectively); being extremely sensitive to cold and having hands and feet that sweat profusely (odds ratio 3.5 for frostbite of the nose); and being transported in the open or in open vehicles under windy conditions (odds ratio 2.2 for frostbite of the cheek). CONCLUSIONS--Wearing warm clothing, including a scarf and a hat with earflaps, helps to prevent frostbite. Each person's sensitivity to cold may also be important. The routine use of protective ointments should not be recommended.
There is significant prevalence of physical injuries sustained by civilian recruits at military training garrisons. Civilian recruits sustain these injuries mostly during the intensive and rigorous military combat-training period.
We sought to determine the prevalence and causes of oral and maxillofacial injuries as the first step in reducing and preventing them in civilian recruits (males aged over18 years) during their 2-year mandatory military service.
Materials and Methods
In this 2-year study, we referred to 11major military training garrisons in 8 provinces and collected data from available medical records of military clinics at each garrison. Injuries occurring in civilian recruits during the intense 2-month military combat training period were documented. Data regarding the number of civilian trainees, percentage of those injured, site where the injury was sustained, type of injury and its causes, etc. as well as demographic data were collected.
The number of civilians called to military service was 153, 886. The ratio of those injured was 4419/153,886. The percentage of maxillofacial injuries was 20.4% (903/4419). The majorities of maxillofacial injuries occurred during the first month (38%) and were due to nonmilitary (86%) rather than military (14%) causes. From among the military causes, bullets (66%) were the most common cause of injury, while falls (73%) were the major cause of nonmilitary injuries. Mountainous terrain was the main cause of falls (51%). The most common military incidents which led to injury were related to artillery fire and explosions (33%). Nasal bone fracture was the most common maxillofacial fracture (49%), and lacerations were the most common soft tissue injury (54%). Among dental injuries, tooth fracture was most common (66%).
The large number of general and maxillofacial injuries in civilian recruits during the 2-month combat-training period at military garrisons is disconcerting. This issue warrants further research to implement methods for identifying, decreasing, and preventing injuries in civilians at military-training garrisons.
Military; Training; Wounds and Injuries
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are an important cause of functional impairments and disability among construction workers. An improved understanding of MSDs in different construction occupations is likely to be of value for selecting preventive measures. This study aimed to survey the prevalence of symptoms of MSDs, the work-relatedness of the symptoms and the problems experienced during work among two construction occupations: bricklayers and supervisors.
We randomly selected 750 bricklayers and 750 supervisors resident in the Netherlands in December 2009. This sample was surveyed by means of a baseline questionnaire and a follow-up questionnaire one year later. The participants were asked about complaints of the musculoskeletal system during the last six months, the perceived work-relatedness of the symptoms, the problems that occurred during work and the occupational tasks that were perceived as causes or aggravating factors of the MSD.
Baseline response rate was 37%, follow-up response was 80%. The prevalence of MSDs among 267 bricklayers and 232 supervisors was 67% and 57%, respectively. Complaints of the back, knee and shoulder/upper arm were the most prevalent among both occupations. Irrespective of the body region, most of the bricklayers and supervisors reported that their complaints were work-related. Complaints of the back and elbow were the most often reported among the bricklayers during work, whereas lower arm/wrist and upper leg complaints were the most often reported among the supervisors. In both occupations, a majority of the participants perceived several occupational physical tasks and activities as causes or aggravating factors for their MSD. Recurrent complaints at follow-up were reported by both bricklayers (47% of the complaints) and supervisors (31% of the complaints). Participants in both occupations report that mainly back and knee complaints result in additional problems during work, at the time of follow-up.
A substantial number of the bricklayers and the supervisors report musculoskeletal disorders, mainly back, knee and shoulder/upper arm complaints. The majority of the bricklayers and half of the supervisors believe that their complaints are work-related. Irrespective of occupation, participants with MSDs report substantial problems during work. Workplace intervention measures aimed at occupational physical tasks and activities seem justified for both occupations.
Construction industry; Longitudinal study; Work-related musculoskeletal disorders
An epidemiological surveillance system for work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) was implemented in 2002 in France’s Pays de la Loire region to assess the incidence and prevalence of MSDs in the general and working populations, identify levels of exposure to occupational risk factors and investigate the proportion of cases attributable to work exposure.
The program combines (1) surveillance of sentinel health events in the general population (carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) was the sentinel event for upper limb MSDs), (2) assessment of the prevalence of the main upper limb MSDs and their risk factors in the workplace based on a network of occupational physicians and (3) registration of the notification of work-related diseases (WRDs).
1168 incident cases of CTS were included over a 3 year period. The estimated incidence of CTS was 1.00 per 1000 person-years in those aged 20–59 years (0.60 in men and 1.40 in women). The incidence rate was higher in employed than unemployed persons in the year of diagnosis (0.6 per 1000 vs 0.3 in men and 1.7 vs 0.8 in women). The occupational physician network noted high prevalence rates: 11% of men and 15% of women had at least one of the six main upper limb clinically-diagnosed MSDs. The WRD survey showed that MSDs represented 65% of notified WRDs.
The Pays de la Loire program plays a significant role in informing the authorities and the public about the state of current MSDs. It is planned to extend it to a routine national surveillance program.
It is unclear whether the well-known risk factors for the occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) also play an important role in the determining consequences of MSD in terms of sickness absence and health care use.
A cross-sectional study was conducted among 853 shipyard employees. Data were collected by questionnaire on physical and psychosocial workload, need for recovery, perceived general health, occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints, and health care use during the past year. Retrospective data on absenteeism were also available from the company register.
In total, 37%, 22%, and 15% of employees reported complaints of low back, shoulder/neck, and hand/wrist during the past 12 months, respectively. Among all employees with at least one MSD, 27% visited a physician at least once and 20% took at least one period of sick leave. Various individual and work-related factors were associated with the occurrence of MSD. Health care use and absenteeism were strongest influenced by chronicity of musculoskeletal complaints and comorbidity with other musculoskeletal complaints and, to a lesser extent, by work-related factors.
In programmes aimed at preventing the unfavourable consequences of MSD in terms of sickness absence and health care use it is important to identify the (individual) factors that determine the development of chronicity of complaints. These factors may differ from the well-know risk factors for the occurrence of MSD that are targeted in primary prevention.
In debates over access to essential medical care, comparatively little attention has been paid to the provision of outpatient physiotherapy services. We examined physiotherapy utilization for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among approximately 2,000 employees of a large, unionized, Ontario workplace. We obtained MSD-related physiotherapy claims and service data from the public Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, two private medical insurance carriers, a workplace special fund starting in 1995 and a workplace-contracted, on-site physiotherapy clinic starting in 1999. We observed substantial increases in overall physiotherapy utilization for MSDs: a median of 234 services per quarter for 1992–1994 to 1,281 for 1999–2002. With inclusive workplace provision policies, most physiotherapy utilization occurred on-site by 1999–2002 (70%). With a user-pay orientation to outpatient physiotherapy services increasing among working-age adults in Ontario, there is substantial potential for unequal access among those not privately insured or in workplaces with direct service provision.
To examine the association between aerobic performance and body composition changes by body mass index (BMI).
6–12 months’ follow-up during military service.
Conscripts entering military service in 2005 in Sodankylä Jaeger Brigade (Finland).
945 men (19 years, SD 1 years).
Main outcome measures
Height, weight, waist circumference, BMI, and aerobic performance (Cooper test) were recorded. Body composition was measured by bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). The measured parameters were fat mass (FM), fat free mass (FFM), and visceral fat area (VFA). All the measurements were performed at the beginning and end of service.
On average, the military training period improved the running distance by 6.8% (169 m, p < 0.001) and the improvements were more pronounced in overweight (223.9 m/9.5%, p < 0.001) and obese (273.3 m/13.6 %, p < 0.001) conscripts. A strong inverse correlation between aerobic performance and body composition changes was observed, especially for weight (r = –0.305, p < 0.001) and VFA (r = –0.465, p < 0.001). A significant association between aerobic performance and changes in weight (p < 0.001), waist circumference (p < 0.001), FM (p < 0.001), and VFA (p < 0.001) by BMI was detected. The associated decrease in weight, waist circumference, FM, and VFA with improved aerobic performance was more substantial between overweight and obese compared with normal-weight subjects.
Favourable changes in body composition are associated with improved aerobic performance during a physical training period such as military service. These findings are pronounced among overweight and obese men and can be applied at the population level in reducing obesity and co-morbidities.
Bioelectrical impedance assessment; Cooper test; fat; military conscripts
Although musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are among the most prevalent chronic conditions, minimal attention has been paid to the paediatric population. The aim of this study is to describe the annual prevalence of healthcare contacts for MSD by children and youth age 0-19 years, including type of MSD, care delivery setting and the specialty of the physician consulted.
Analysis of data on all children with healthcare contacts for MSD in Ontario, Canada using data from universal health insurance databases on ambulatory physician and emergency department (ED) visits, same-day outpatient surgery, and in-patient admissions for the fiscal year 2006/07. The proportion of children and youth seeing different physician specialties was calculated for each physician and condition grouping. Census data for the 2006 Ontario population was used to calculate person visit rates.
122.1 per 1,000 children and youth made visits for MSD. The majority visited for injury and related conditions (63.2 per 1,000), followed by unspecified MSD complaints (33.0 per 1,000), arthritis and related conditions (27.7 per 1,000), bone and spinal conditions (14.2 per 1,000), and congenital anomalies (3 per 1,000). Injury was the most common reason for ED visits and in-patient admissions, and arthritis and related conditions for day-surgery. The majority of children presented to primary care physicians (74.4%), surgeons (22.3%), and paediatricians (10.1%). Paediatricians were more likely to see younger children and those with congenital anomalies or arthritis and related conditions.
One in eight children and youth make physician visits for MSD in a year, suggesting that the prevalence of MSD in children may have been previously underestimated. Although most children may have self-limiting conditions, it is unknown to what extent these may deter involvement in physical activity, or be indicators of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions. Given deficiencies in medical education, particularly of primary care physicians and paediatricians, it is important that training programs devote an appropriate amount of time to paediatric MSD.
Employees and self-employed persons have, among others, different personal characteristics and different working conditions, which may influence the prognosis of sick leave and the duration of a disability claim. The purpose of the current study is to identify prognostic factors for the duration of a disability claim due to non-specific musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) among self-employed persons in the Netherlands.
The study population consisted of 276 self-employed persons, who all had a disability claim episode due to MSD with at least 75% work disability. The study was a cohort study with a follow-up period of 12 months. At baseline, participants filled in a questionnaire with possible individual, work-related and disease-related prognostic factors.
The following prognostic factors significantly increased claim duration: age > 40 years (Hazard Ratio 0.54), no similar symptoms in the past (HR 0.46), having long-lasting symptoms of more than six months (HR 0.60), self-predicted return to work within more than one month or never (HR 0.24) and job dissatisfaction (HR 0.54).
The prognostic factors we found indicate that for self-employed persons, the duration of a disability claim not only depends on the (history of) impairment of the insured, but also on age, self-predicted return to work and job satisfaction.
Work disability predictors; special worker populations; musculoskeletal problems
The Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) is an investigation of the burden (number of cases and incidence) of moderate-to-severe diarrhea (MSD) in children <60 months of age at 7 sites in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The population attributable fraction for a putative pathogen, either unadjusted or adjusted for other pathogens, is estimated using the proportion of MSD cases from whom the pathogen was isolated and the odds ratio for MSD and the pathogen from conditional logistic regression modeling. The adjusted attributable fraction, proportion of MSD cases taken to a sentinel health center (SHC), number of cases presenting to an SHC, and the site's population are used to estimate the annual number of MSD cases and MSD incidence rate attributable to a pathogen or group of pathogens. Associations with death and nutritional outcomes, ascertained at follow-up visits to case and control households, are evaluated both in MSD cases and in the population.
Military service in Finland is compulsory for male citizens and annually about 90% of 19-year-old men enter into the service. Approximately 15% of them are discharged due to medical reasons constituting a group of young men who are at risk of being marginalised in society. The purpose of the study was to evaluate predictive associations between medical discharge from the compulsory military service and various intrinsic risk factors, including socio-economic, health, health behavior, and physical fitness outcomes.
We followed four successive cohorts of conscripts who formed a representative sample of Finnish young men (18-28 years old, median age 19 yrs) for 6 months. To exclude injuries and illnesses originating before the onset of service, conscripts discharged from the service at the medical screenings during the 2-week run-in period were excluded from the analyses. Data regarding medical discharge were charted from computerised patient records. Predictive associations between medical discharge and intrinsic risk factors were examined using multivariate Cox's proportional hazard models.
Of 1411 participants, 9.4% (n = 133) were discharged prematurely for medical reasons, mainly musculoskeletal (44%, n = 59) and mental and behavioral (29%, n = 39) disorders. Low levels of physical fitness assessed with a 12-min running test (hazard ratio [HR] 3.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.7-6.4), poor school success (HR 4.6; 95% CI: 2.0-11.0), poor self-assessed health (HR 2.8; 95% CI: 1.6-5.2), and not belonging to a sports club (HR 4.9; 95% CI: 1.2-11.6) were most strongly associated with medical discharge in a graded manner. The present results highlight the need for an improved pre-enlistment examination and provide a new means of identifying young persons with a high risk for discharge.
The majority of the observed risk factors are modifiable. Thus preventive measures and programs could be implemented. The findings suggest that increasing both aerobic and muscular fitness is a desirable goal in a pre-training program before entering military service. Attention to appropriate waist circumference and strategies addressing psychological well-being may strengthen the preventive program. Optimally the effectiveness of these programs should be tested in randomized controlled intervention studies.
epidemiology; exercise; fitness testing; sporting injuries
The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in the aluminium industry is high, and there is a considerable work-related fraction. More knowledge about the predictors of sickness absence from MSD in this industry will be valuable in determining strategies for prevention. The aim of this study was to analyse the relative impact of body parts, psychosocial and individual factors as predictors for short- and long-term sickness absence from MSD among industrial workers.
A follow-up study was conducted among all the workers at eight aluminium plants in Norway. A questionnaire was completed by 5654 workers at baseline in 1998. A total of 3320 of these participated in the follow-up study in 2000. Cox regression analysis was applied to investigate the relative impact of MSD in various parts of the body and of psychosocial and individual factors reported in 1998 on short-term and long-term sickness absence from MSD reported in 2000.
MSD accounted for 45% of all working days lost the year prior to follow-up in 2000. Blue-collar workers had significantly higher risk than white-collar workers for both short- and long-term sickness absence from MSD (long-term sickness absence: RR = 3.04, 95% CI 2.08–4.45). Widespread and low back pain in 1998 significantly predicted both short- and long-term sickness absence in 2000. In addition, shoulder pain predicted long-term sickness absence. Low social support predicted short-term sickness absence (RR = 1.28, 95% CI 1.11–1.49).
Reducing sickness absence from MSD among industrial workers requires focusing on the working conditions of blue-collar workers and risk factors for low back pain and widespread pain. Increasing social support in the work environment may have effects in reducing short-term sickness absence from MSD.
sickness absence; musculoskeletal disorders; low back pain; widespread pain; blue-collar workers; social support
OBJECTIVE--To determine the prevalence of asthma in cohorts of Finnish young men in the period 1926-89. DESIGN--A retrospective analysis using reports and statistics of Finnish defence forces. SETTING--Call up examinations of candidates for military conscription and examination of conscripts discharged because of poor health. SUBJECTS--Roughly 900,000 men--that is, 98% of men of conscription age--examined in 1966-89 and a proportional but unknown number examined in 1926-61. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Asthma recognised at call up examination, exemption from military service, and discharge from military service because of asthma. RESULTS--During 1926-61 the prevalence of asthma recorded at call up examinations remained steady at between 0.02% and 0.08%. Between 1961 and 1966, however, a continuous, linear rise began, the prevalence increasing from 0.29% in 1966 to 1.79% in 1989--that is, representing a sixfold increase. Compared with 1961 the rise was 20-fold. From 1966 to 1989 the sum of exemptions and discharges from military service due to asthma increased analogously sixfold. CONCLUSIONS--If the apparent increase in asthma detected in Finnish young men was due entirely to improved diagnostic methods and other confounding effects then some 95% of cases must have gone undiagnosed in the years before 1966. This seems inconceivable, which suggests that much of the increase was real. This conclusion is strengthened by the observed rise in exemptions and discharges due to asthma.
Assessments of whether patients with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can participate in work mainly consist of case history, physical examinations, and self-reports. Performance-based measures might add value in these assessments. This study answers the question: how well do performance-based measures predict work participation in patients with MSDs?
A systematic literature search was performed to obtain longitudinal studies that used reliable performance-based measures to predict work participation in patients with MSDs. The following five sources of information were used to retrieve relevant studies: PubMed, Embase, AMA Guide to the Evaluation of Functional Ability, references of the included papers, and the expertise and personal file of the authors. A quality assessment specific for prognostic studies and an evidence synthesis were performed.
Of the 1,230 retrieved studies, eighteen fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The studies included 4,113 patients, and the median follow-up period was 12 months. Twelve studies took possible confounders into account. Five studies were of good quality and thirteen of moderate quality. Two good-quality and all thirteen moderate-quality studies (83%) reported that performance-based measures were predictive of work participation. Two good-quality studies (11%) reported both an association and no association between performance-based measures and work participation. One good-quality study (6%) found no effect. A performance-based lifting test was used in fourteen studies and appeared to be predictive of work participation in thirteen studies.
Strong evidence exists that a number of performance-based measures are predictive of work participation in patients with MSDs, especially lifting tests. Overall, the explained variance was modest.
Functional capacity; Low back; Upper extremity; Lower extremity; Work ability; Predictive validity
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) have accounted for a significant proportion of work injuries and workers' compensation claims in industrialized nations since the late 1980s. Despite epidemiological evidence for the role of repetition and force in the onset and progression of work-related MSDs, complete understanding of these important occupational health problems requires further elucidation of pathophysiological mechanisms of the tissue response, particularly in the early stage of these disorders. Results from several clinical and experimental studies indicate that tissue microtraumas occur as a consequence of performing repetitive and/or forceful tasks, and that this mechanical tissue injury leads to local and perhaps even systemic inflammation, followed by fibrotic and structural tissue changes. Here we review work linking inflammation and the development of work-related MSDs. We also propose a conceptual framework suggesting the potential roles that inflammation may play in these disorders, and how inflammation may contribute to pain, motor dysfunction, and to puzzling psychological symptoms that are often characteristic of patients with work-related MSDs.
Work-related musculoskeletal disorder; Repetitive strain injury; Inflammation; Tissue injury
Aims: (1) To evaluate an active method of surveillance of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). (2) To compare different criteria for deciding whether or not a work situation could be considered at high risk of MSDs in a large, modern shoe factory.
Methods: A total of 253 blue collar workers were interviewed and examined by the same physician in 1996; 191 of them were re-examined in 1997. Risk factors of MSDs were assessed for each worker by standardised job site work analysis. Prevalence and incidence rates of carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff syndrome, and tension neck syndrome were calculated for each of the nine main types of work situation. Different criteria used to assess situations with high risk of MSDs were compared.
Results: On the basis of prevalence data, three types of work situation were detected to be at high risk of MSDs: cutting, sewing, and assembly preparation. The three types of work situations identified on the basis of incidence data (sewing preparation, mechanised assembling, and finishing) were different from those identified by prevalence data. At least one recognised risk factor for MSDs was identified for all groups of work situations. The ergonomic risk could be considered as serious for the four types of work situation having the highest ergonomic scores (sewing, assembly preparation, pasting, and cutting).
Conclusion: The results of the health surveillance method depend largely on the definition of the criteria used to define the risk of MSDs. The criteria based on incidence data are more valid than those based on prevalence data. Health and risk factor surveillance must be combined to predict the risk of MSDs in the company. However, exposure assessment plays a greater role in determining the priorities for ergonomic intervention.
The underlying purpose of this commentary and position paper is to achieve evidence-based recommendations on prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Such prevention can take different forms (primary, secondary and tertiary), occur at different levels (i.e. in a clinical setting, at the workplace, at national level) and involve several types of activities. Members of the Scientific Committee (SC) on MSDs of the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) and other interested scientists and members of the public recently discussed the scientific and clinical future of prevention of (work-related) MSDs during five round-table sessions at two ICOH conferences (in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2009, and in Angers, France, in 2010). Approximately 50 researchers participated in each of the sessions. More specifically, the sessions aimed to discuss new developments since 1996 in measures and classification systems used both in research and in practice, and agree on future needs in the field.
The discussion focused on three questions: At what degree of severity does musculoskeletal ill health, and do health problems related to MSDs, in an individual worker or in a group of workers justify preventive action in occupational health? What reliable and valid instruments do we have in research to distinguish ‘normal musculoskeletal symptoms’ from ‘serious musculoskeletal symptoms’ in workers? What measures or classification system of musculoskeletal health will we need in the near future to address musculoskeletal health and related work ability?
Four new, agreed-upon statements were extrapolated from the discussions: 1. Musculoskeletal discomfort that is at risk of worsening with work activities, and that affects work ability or quality of life, needs to be identified. 2. We need to know our options of actions before identifying workers at risk (providing evidence-based medicine and applying the principle of best practice). 3. Classification systems and measures must include aspects such as the severity, frequency, and intensity of pain, as well as measures of impairment of functioning, which can help in prevention, treatment and prognosis. 4. We need to be aware of economic and/or socio-cultural consequences of classification systems and measures.
Occupation; Epidemiology; Prevention; Aetiology; Expert opinion; Occupational health; Public health; Rheumatology; Rehabilitation; Orthopaedics
To assess the percentage of musculoskeletal complaints and their possible risk factors among municipal solid waste (MSW) collectors.
A descriptive cross-sectional study with a comparison group.
Primary level of care, at the Western Municipality of Mansoura City, Egypt.
A total of 160 male MSW collectors fulfilled the eligibility criteria and 120 of them participated in the study (response rate of 75%). The inclusion criteria were permanent or temporary solid waste collectors employed for 1 year or more. A comparison group of 110 male service workers at the Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, comparable to MSW collectors in most of the variables.
The percentage of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among collectors, their risk factors (socio-demographic, psychosocial, physical), and the independent risk factors for having the disorders.
The percentage of musculoskeletal complaints during the past 12 months was higher among MSW collectors (60.8%) than the comparison group (43.6%). Low back was the most frequently affected body region among MSW collectors. The differences in the distribution of musculoskeletal complaints between the two groups were statistically significant for the neck and hip/thigh regions. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the independent risk factors for musculoskeletal symptoms among MSW collectors were the longer duration of employment (OR=0.4, 95% CI=0.1 to 0.9); low decision latitude (OR=0.3, 95% CI=0.1 to 0.7); lifting, pulling; pushing/carrying loads >20 kg (OR=5.5, 95% CI=1.8 to 17.0) and walking for long periods of time (OR=2.6, 95% CI=1.1 to 6.6).
Musculoskeletal complaints are highly prevalent among MSW collectors which require engineering, medical and legislative measures. We suggest further research in the interventions that could reduce the high percentage among collectors.
Epidemiology; Occupational & Industrial Medicine
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are the major cause of morbidity throughout the world, having a substantial influence on quality of life (QOL). We studied QOL ascertained by limitations of activities of daily living, impact on family and social relationships, and sleep disturbances among patients with MSD.
Ascertain QOL in MSD.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional study among 2633 randomly selected subjects. The study was carried out in the field practice area of D Y Patil Medical College, Pune, India. In the first phase of the study, patients of MSD were identified by house-to-house surveys, by face-to-face interviews, and clinical examination carried out by trained interns in random samples of selected households. Subsequently, QOL in patients with MSD was elicited by measuring limitations of activities of daily living, impact on family and social relationships and sleep disturbances by structured instrument, using Likert/Dichotomous Scale. Statistical software EPI Info 2002 was used for estimation of sample size, data entry, and analysis. Data were summarized using proportions and percentages. Association of gender and rural–urban background with prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders was explored with odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals.
A total of 2633 subjects were examined. Out of these, 190 (7.2%) suffered from various types of MSD, with higher prevalence in females than males (OR=1.43, 95% CI=1.05 to 1.95). Prevalence was also higher in the rural population compared with urban (OR=2.02, 95% CI=1.45 to 2.83). However, the rural–urban difference may be due to the confounding effect of age, as prevalence was higher in the elderly (48.78%) and the mean age of the rural population was significantly higher than the urban population. Different degrees of limitations among patients of MSD in carrying out specific activities were: Dressing 9.5%, washing hair 11.6%, rising from bed 50%, feeding themselves 6%, walking 39%, taking bath 10%, toilet 37%, rising from chair 47%, rising from floor 55%, boarding bus 30%, and sleep disturbances 47%. These limitations also had impact on their family and social relationships.
Patients of musculoskeletal disorders face appreciable limitations in their activities of daily living, which adversely impact their QOL.
Activities; Disorders; Limitations; Musculoskeletal
The epidemiology of sudden deaths was studied among conscripts in Finland in 1948-72 (660 000 man-years) and among Finnish men aged 15-24 years in 1969-70 (900 000 man-years). The incidence of sudden deaths among the conscripts was 6-8/100 000 man-years. The onset of acute symptoms occurred during strenuous exercise in a third of the conscripts but in only a few of the other young men. Cardiovascular diseases caused two-thirds of the deaths in both groups. Sudden death tended to be more common among conscripts than among other young men during the corresponding period, but overall non-violent deaths were less common among conscripts than among other young men. On the basis of health records an attempt was made to separate the sudden deaths among conscripts from those among the controls by multiple discriminant analysis. For all practical purposes, however, the separation power proved poor.