Dairy farming is physically demanding and associated with a high frequency of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). This study investigated and compared work-related MSD, ergonomic work factors and physical exertion in farmers and employed farm workers on dairy farms in Sweden.
The study comprised 66 dairy farmers, and 37 employed dairy farm workers. A modified version of the general Standardised Nordic Questionnaire was used for analyses of perceived MSD in nine different parts of the body. Perceived physical discomfort was assessed using questions concerning ergonomic work factors. A rating scale was used for analyses of perceived physical exertion. Information about participant demographics was also collected. The response rate amounted to 70%.
The most frequently reported MSD in farmers and farm workers were located in the lower back (50% and 43%, respectively) and the shoulders (47% and 43%, respectively). MSD were also frequently reported in the neck (33%) among farmers, and in the hands/wrist (41%) among farm workers. MSD in the elbows (23%) and feet (21%) were significantly more frequently reported by farmers than farm workers (5%). Female farmers and farm workers both reported significantly higher frequencies of MSD in the neck (48% and 56%, respectively) and hands/wrists (44% and 61%, respectively) than their male colleagues (24% and 5%; 10% and 21%, respectively). In addition, female farm workers had significantly higher reported frequencies of MSD in the upper and lower back (39% and 61%, respectively) than their male counterparts (5% and 26%, respectively). Milking was perceived as a weakly to moderately physically demanding work task. Repetitive and monotonous work in dairy houses was the ergonomic work factor most frequently reported as causing physically discomfort among farmers (36%) and farm workers (32%), followed by lifting heavy objects (17% and 27%, respectively). Female workers had significantly more reported discomfort from repetitive and monotonous work than their male counterparts (50% and 16%, respectively).
Despite the technical developments on modern dairy farms, there is still a high prevalence of MSD and discomfort from ergonomic work factors, particularly among female workers.
Ergonomic work factors; Work environment; Physical exertion; Dairy farming; Milking; Agriculture; Questionnaire; Rating scale
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.
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.
Although musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) represent a significant occupational issue for most nursing home staff, few epidemiological studies have been conducted in Korea.
We investigated the prevalence of, and risk factors for, MSD within South Korea’s largest nursing home using a previously validated, self-reporting questionnaire.
From a total of 130 registered employees, 91 (70.0%) successfully completed questionnaires were obtained. The majority were female (80.2%, n=73), with an age range of 27 to 62 years and an average age of 47.0 years (SD 8.0). MSD occurred in varying amounts and was classified into distinct categories depending on body site. The most commonly affected region was the shoulder (reported by 35.2%), followed by the arm (22.0%), knee (20.9%) and lower back (19.8%). Three statistically significant risk factors were consistently identified among all 4 MSD sites: manually handling patients (OR 5.1 to 20.8), changing a patient’s clothes (OR 6.7 to 30.1) and working as a nursing aide (OR 3.7 to 74.3).
Overall, the present results suggest that employment within a South Korean nursing home incurs certain hazards depending on job description and daily work tasks. The MSD prevalence differed from other occupations within South Korea and previous nursing home studies.
musculoskeletal disorders; nursing home; Korea; low back pain; self-reported
Nurses are at high risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Although the prevalence of MSDs of the lower back, upper limbs, neck and shoulders have been reported previously in nursing, few studies have evaluated MSDs of the foot and ankle. This study evaluated the prevalence of foot and ankle MSDs in nurses and their relation to individual and workplace risk factors.
A self-administered survey incorporating the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) was distributed, over a nine-week period, to all eligible nurses (n = 416) working in a paediatric hospital in Brisbane, Australia. The prevalence of MSDs for each of the NMQ body regions was determined. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between activity-limiting foot/ankle MSDs and risk factors related to the individual (age, body mass index, number of existing foot conditions, smoking history, general physical health [SF36 Physical Component Scale], footwear features) or the workplace (level of nursing position, work location, average hours worked, hours worked in previous week, time since last break from work).
A 73% response rate was achieved with 304 nurses completing surveys, of whom 276 were females (91%). Mean age of the nurses was 37 years (±10), younger than the state average of 43 years. Foot/ankle MSDs were the most prevalent conditions experienced by nurses during the preceding seven days (43.8%, 95% CI 38.2-49.4%), the second most prevalent MSDs to impair physical activity (16.7%, 95% CI 13.0-21.3%), and the third most prevalent MSD, after lower-back and neck problems, during the preceding 12 months (55.3%, 95% CI 49.6-60.7%). Of the nurse and work characteristics investigated, obesity, poor general physical health, existing foot conditions and working in the intensive care unit emerged as statistically significant (p < 0.05) independent risk factors for activity-limiting foot/ankle MSDs.
Foot/ankle MSDs are common in paediatric hospital nurses and resulted in physical activity limitations in one out of every six nurses. We recommend targeted education programs regarding the prevention, self-management and treatment strategies for foot/ankle MSDs. Further research is needed into the impact of work location and extended shift durations on foot/ankle MSDs.
To evaluate the process of a job-specific workers’ health surveillance (WHS) in improving occupational health care for construction workers.
From January to July 2012 were 899 bricklayers and supervisors invited for the job-specific WHS at three locations of one occupational health service throughout the Netherlands. The intervention aimed at detecting signs of work-related health problems, reduced work capacity and/or reduced work functioning. Measurements were obtained using a recruitment record and questionnaires at baseline and follow-up. The process evaluation included the following: reach (attendance rate), intervention dose delivered (provision of written recommendations and follow-up appointments), intervention dose received (intention to follow-up on advice directly after WHS and remembrance of advice three months later), and fidelity (protocol adherence). The workers scored their increase in knowledge from 0–10 with regard to health status and work ability, their satisfaction with the intervention and the perceived (future) effect of such an intervention. Program implementation was defined as the mean score of reach, fidelity, and intervention dose delivered and received.
Reach was 9% (77 workers participated), fidelity was 67%, the intervention dose delivered was 92 and 63%, and the intervention dose received was 68 and 49%. The total programme implementation was 58%. The increases in knowledge regarding the health status and work ability of the workers after the WHS were graded as 7.0 and 5.9, respectively. The satisfaction of the workers with the entire intervention was graded as 7.5. The perceived (future) effects on health status were graded as 6.3, and the effects on work ability were graded with a 5.2. The economic recession affected the workers as well as the occupational health service that enacted the implementation.
Programme implementation was acceptable. Low reach, limited protocol adherence and modest engagement of the workers with respect to the intervention were the most prominent aspects that influenced the intervention process. The increase in the workers’ knowledge about their health status and work ability was substantial, and the workers’ satisfaction with the intervention was good. The perceived effect of the advised preventive actions on health status was sufficient.
Netherlands Trial Register: http://NTR3012
OBJECTIVES—To identify work related risk factors of future low back pain (LBP) in a cohort of construction workers free of LBP at the start of follow up.
METHODS—The Hamburg construction worker study comprises 571 male construction workers who have undergone two comprehensive interview and physical examination surveys. A cohort of 285 subjects without LBP at baseline was identified. After a follow up of 3 years, the 1 year prevalence of self reported LBP was determined in the 230 men followed up (80.7%). Prevalence ratios (PRs) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) of LBP at follow up according to self reported work tasks of construction workers measured at baseline were estimated from Cox's regression models which were adjusted for age, and anthropometric measures.
RESULTS—At follow up 71 out of 230 workers (30.9%) reported LBP during the preceding 12 months. Four work tasks (scaffolding, erecting roof structures, sawing wood, laying large sandstones) with an increased risk of 1 year prevalence of LBP at follow up were further evaluated. After further adjustment for occupation the relative risk was increased for workers who had reported ⩾2 hour/shifts laying large sandstones (PR=2.6; 95% CI 1.1 to 6.5). Work load of bricklayers was additionally estimated by an index on stone load (high exposure: PR=4.0; 95% CI 0.8 to 19.8), and an index for laying huge bricks/blocks (yes/no: PR=1.7; 95% CI 0.5 to 5.7).
CONCLUSIONS—The results suggest that self reported differences in brick characteristics (size and type of stone) and temporal aspects of the work of bricklayers (average hours per shift laying specified stones) can predict the future prevalence of LBP. The data have to be interpreted with caution because multiple risk factors were tested.
Keywords: construction industry; cohort studies; low back pain
To determine how early musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) develop in dental
professionals and to explore the potential differences among distinct dental
Material and Methods
271 dental postgraduates majoring in five dental specialties were recruited, i.e.,
orthodontics, prosthodontics, endodontics, periodontics and alveolar surgery. 254
age-matched non-dental postgraduates served as the control. The standardized
Nordic questionnaire on MSDs and a self-report questionnaire regarding correlative
factors (only for dental postgraduates) were answered through emails. Reliability
of responses was assessed applying test-retest method.
The intraclass correlation coefficient of participants' answers ranged from 0.89
to 0.96. Dental postgraduates had significantly higher prevalence of MSDs than the
control group, especially at neck, upper back and lower back. In all dental
specialties included, high prevalence of MSDs was reported at neck (47.5%-69.8%),
shoulders (50.8%-65.1%), lower back (27.1%-51.2%) and upper back (25.6%-46.5%),
with lower prevalence at elbows (5.1%-18.6%), hips (3.4%-16.3%) and ankles
(5.1%-11.6%). Periodontics students reported the worst MSDs in most body regions
except wrists and knees, which were more prevalent for prosthodontic and alveolar
surgery students, respectively. Furthermore, year of clinical work, clinical hours
per week and desk hours per week were found
as risk factors for MSDs, whereas physical exercise and rest between patients as
High and specialty-related MSDs afflict dental professionals even since very early
stage of careers. Prevention aimed at the specialty-related characteristics and
the risk/protective factors revealed in this study should be introduced to dental
personnel as early as possible.
Occupational health; Musculoskeletal diseases; Specialty; Dentists; Dental education
OBJECTIVES: To analyse factors that determine the occurrence of sickness absence due to musculoskeletal problems and the time it takes to return to work. METHODS: A longitudinal study with two year follow up was conducted among 283 male welders and metal workers. The survey started with a standardised interview on the occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints. 61 (22%) workers were lost to follow up. Data on sickness absence among 222 workers during the follow up were collected from absence records and self reports. Regression analysis based on proportional hazards models was applied to identify risk factors for the occurrence and duration of sickness absence due to various musculoskeletal complaints. RESULTS: During the follow up 51% of the workers attributed at least one period of sickness absence to musculoskeletal complaints which accounted for 44% of all work days lost. A history of back pain was not associated with sickness absence for back pain, partly because subjects with back pain were more likely to be lost to follow up. Neck or shoulder pain and pain of the upper extremities contributed significantly to neck or shoulder absence (relative risk (RR) 3.35; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.73 to 6.47) and to upper extremities absence (RR 2.29; 95% CI 1.17 to 4.46), respectively. Company and job title were also significant predictors for sickness absence due to these musculoskeletal complaints. Absence with musculoskeletal complaints was not associated with age, height, body mass index, smoking, and duration of employment. Return to work after neck or shoulder absence was worse among metal workers than welders (RR 2.12; 95% CI 1.08 to 4.17). Return to work after lower extremities absence was strongly influenced by visiting a physician (RR 11.31; 95% CI 2.94 to 43.46) and by musculoskeletal comorbidity (RR 2.81; 95% CI 1.18 to 6.73). CONCLUSIONS: Complaints of the neck or shoulder and upper extremities in the 12 months before the study were associated with sickness absence for these complaints during the follow up. Workers with absence due to pain from back, neck or shoulder, upper extremities, or lower extremities were at higher risk of subsequent sickness absence in the next year.
Background: Carpet weaving operations usualy involve poor working conditions that can lead to the development of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This study investigated MSDs among car¬pet weavers in relation to working conditions from workers' view in Tabriz City, Northwest Iran.
Methods: This cross-sectional and descriptive study was conducted in city of Tabriz, Iran. Data were col¬lected using interviews and questionnaires. The study population consisted of 200 randomly selected healthy weavers from twenty five active carpet weaving workshops.
Results: The results showed a high prevalence of musculoskeletal problems among the study population. The most commonly affected body areas were neck, lower back, ankles/feet, hands/wrists, upper back, shoulders and knees, respectively. More than half of the weavers were not satisfied with the thermal con¬dition, noise level and cleanliness of the air in the workshops. The result indicated a significant relation¬ship between upper back symptoms and daily working time and between lower back symptoms and the numbers of rows of knots woven in a day. Weavers' satisfaction with hand tools shape and thermal condi¬tion of the workshops were associated with lower back symptoms, whereas satisfaction with weaving looms were associated with upper back complaints.
Conclusion: The poor working condition of hand-woven carpet workshops such as environmental con¬ditions and work station design and tools should be the subject of ergonomics interventions.
Musculoskeletal; Carpet weaving; Working conditions
Veterinary work is a physically demanding profession and entails the risk of injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system, particularly in the upper body. The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), the consequences and work-related accidents in German veterinarians were investigated. Work-related and individual factors associated with MSD of upper extremities and the neck were analyzed.
In 2011, a self-reporting Standardized Nordic Questionnaire was mailed to registered veterinarians in seven federal medical associations in Germany. A total of 3174 (38.4%) veterinarians responded. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the association between risk factors and MSD-related impairment of daily activities.
MSD in the neck (66.6%) and shoulder (60.5%) were more prevalent than in the hand (34.5%) or elbow (24.5%). Normal activities were affected in 28.7% (neck), 29.5% (shoulder), 19.4% (hand) and 14% (elbow) of the respondents. MSD in the upper body occurred significantly more often in large animal practitioners. Accidents that resulted in MSD were most frequently reported in the hand/wrist (14.3%) or in the shoulder (10.8%). The majority of all accidents in the distal upper extremities were caused by animals than by other factors (19% vs. 9.2%). For each area of the body, a specific set of individual and work-related factors contributed significantly to severe MSD: Older age, gender, previous injuries, BMI, practice type, veterinary procedures such as dentistry, rectal procedures and obstetric procedures as well as high demands and personal burnout.
From the perspective of occupational health and safety, it seems to be necessary to improve accident prevention and to optimize the ergonomics of specific tasks. Our data suggest the need for target group-specific preventive measures that also focus on the psychological factors at work.
Recent literature has identified that musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are a significant occupational health issue for both dentists and dental hygienists. Research on the occupational health of dental hygienists is lacking in Australia, which is of particular concern given that it is a rapidly growing field in this country. The aims of this research are to investigate the prevalence of MSD and correlating regions of pain among Australian dental hygienists. A self-reporting questionnaire was distributed to all registered dental hygienists in Australia. The questionnaire was a modified version of a validated tool, used previously among health practitioners and students.
A total of 624 dental hygienists responded to the questionnaire, achieving a response rate of 42%. MSD were frequently reported by dental hygienists in the neck (85%), shoulder (70%), and lower back (68%). Of those reporting pain, over two thirds reported that the pain lasted for longer than two days, for all body regions. Logistic regression analysis revealed that there is a correlation between reports of MSD in the neck, shoulder and lower back regions.
Overall, this study suggests that MSD are a reasonably common problem for Australian dental hygienists, and that they often need to seek medical treatment for these problems. It is concerning that there is a correlation between reports of MSD in the neck, shoulder and lower back regions; further studies are needed to establish the epidemiological patterns of MSD in this profession.
Musculoskeletal disorders; Dental hygienist; Occupational health
The prevalence of musculoskeletal complaints in dentists is high although relatively few studies had focus in this profession. The aim of this study was to investigate the relations between physical, psychosocial, and individual characteristics and different endpoints of musculoskeletal complaints of low back, neck, shoulders and hand/wrist.
A questionnaire survey was carried out among 430 dentists (response 88%) in Thessaloniki, Greece. Questions include data on physical and psychosocial workload, need for recovery, perceived general health and (i) the occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints in the past 12 months, (ii) chronic complaints during at least 1 month, complaints which led to (iii) sickness absence, and (iv) medical care seeking. In logistic regression analysis odds ratios were estimated for all relevant risk factors.
62% of dentists reported at least one musculoskeletal complaint, 30% chronic complaints, 16% had spells of absence and, 32% sought medical care. Self-reported factors of physical load were associated with the occurrence of back pain (OR = 1.59), shoulder pain (OR = 2.57) and, hand/wrist pain (OR = 3.46). With the exception of hand/wrist complaints, the physical factors were not associated with chronic complaints and musculoskeletal sickness absence. Physical load showed a trend with the number of musculoskeletal complaints with ORs of 2.50, 3.07 and 4.40 for two, three and four musculoskeletal complaints, respectively. No consistent influence of psychosocial factors on complaints, chronicity, sickness absence and medical care seeking was observed. A perceived moderate general health was a significant factor for chronic complaints, comorbidity and medical care seeking where high perceived exertion was significant for absenteeism. Living alone was also related with increased absenteeism due to shoulder pain (OR = 5.01) and hand/wrist (OR = 4.07).
The physical load among dentists seems to put them at risk for the occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders. More than one and severe complaints are related to perceived general health while high perceived exertion and social characteristics are associated with sickness absence. Chronic symptoms seem to determine medical care seeking. Ergonomic interventions may have a greater impact in prevention of hand/wrist complaints. When investigating the influence of work-related risk factors on musculoskeletal health, psychosocial and other personal characteristics should be taken into account.
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
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) constitute one of the main occupational hazards among health care workers. However, few epidemiological studies on work related MSD among nursing professionals have been carried out in Africa. The purpose of this study was to assess the work related musculoskeletal disorders and associated risk factors among nursing professionals in Uganda.
This was a cross-sectional study of MSD among 880 nursing professionals from five selected hospitals in Uganda. Data was collected using a questionnaire adapted from the Dutch Musculoskeletal and Nordic Musculoskeletal questionnaires. Descriptive (mean, standard deviation and percentages) and inferential (Chi square test and logistic regression analysis) statistics were used to analyse data. Alpha level was set at p < 0.05.
A total of 741 completed questionnaires were analysed (response rate 85.4%). The average age of the respondents was 35.4 (SD 10.7) years and a majority were female (85.7%). The average working hours per week was 43.7 (SD 18.9 hours). The 12-month period-prevalence of MSD at anybody site was 80.8%. The most common site of MSD was the lower back (61.9%). Significant risk factors for reported MSD included often working in a slightly bent posture (adjOR 2.25, 95% CI 1.20-4.26), often working in a slightly twisted posture for long (adjOR 1.97, 95% CI 1.03-3.77), mental exhaustion (adjOR 2.05, 95% CI 1.17-3.5), being absent from the work station for more than 6 months due to illness or an accident (adjO|R, 4.35, 95% CI 1.44-13.08) and feeling rested after a break (adjOR 2.09, 95% CI 1.16-3.76).
Musculoskeletal disorders affect more than 80% of nursing professionals in Uganda with the most commonly, affected site being the lower back. Significant risk factors for MSD include; being absent from the work station for more than 6 months due to illness or an accident, working in awkward postures, pushing/pulling of heavy loads and mental exhaustion. There is a need for greater advocacy, better working conditions and adoption of strategies to reduce occupational injuries.
Musculoskeletal disorders; Risk factors; Uganda
Despite considerable knowledge about musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and physical, psychosocial and individual risk factors there is limited knowledge about physical activity as a factor in preventing MSD. In addition, studies of physical activity are often limited to either leisure activity or physical activity at work. Studies among military personnel on the association between physical activity at work and at leisure and MSD are lacking. This study was conducted to find the prevalence of MSD among personnel in the Royal Norwegian Navy and to assess the association between physical activity at work and at leisure and MSD.
A questionnaire about musculoskeletal disorders, physical activity and background data (employment status, age, gender, body mass index, smoking, education and physical stressors) was completed by 2265 workers (58%) 18 to 70 years old in the Royal Norwegian Navy. Multiple logistic regression with 95% confidence intervals was used to assess the relationship between physical activity and musculoskeletal disorders.
A total of 32% of the workers reported musculoskeletal disorders often or very often in one or more parts of the body in the past year. The most common musculoskeletal disorders were in the lower back (15% often or very often), shoulders (12% often or very often) and neck (11% often or very often). After adjustment for confounders, physical activity was inversely associated with musculoskeletal disorders for all body sites except elbows, knees and feet.
The one-year prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among workers in the Royal Norwegian Navy was rather low. A physically active lifestyle both at work and at leisure was associated with fewer musculoskeletal disorders among personnel in the Royal Norwegian Navy. Prospective studies are necessary to confirm the cause and effect in this association.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the prevalence of self reported musculoskeletal complaints in the back, arms or neck, and legs among workers in the spinning industry, and to investigate the relations between these complaints and work related variables. METHODS: An interview based questionnaire survey was carried out in two spinning industry factories in Lithuania. RESULTS: The study group consisted of all workers in production (n = 363). Symptoms of the legs were the musculoskeletal symptom reported most often (61%). Many subjects had arms or neck (55%) or back problems (28%). 20% had experienced pain from all three sites. Almost 25% had had musculoskeletal pain every day and 16% had experienced constant pain during previous year. Packers had the highest risk of arms or neck problems whereas spinners had the highest risk of back or leg problems. Working in a strained posture (bending, work with arms raised up above shoulder level, and repetitive movements of the fingers) was associated with all three complaints. Only arms or neck complaints were associated with age. CONCLUSIONS: Musculoskeletal disorders are a common problem among workers producing gobelin or synthetic thread in Lithuania and working in a strained posture is a risk factor for developing musculoskeletal disorders in three body sites: legs, arms or neck, and back. To better understand the different aspects of physical load as risk factors, a more detailed study of the frequency of postural changes as well as an observation of individually adopted postures would be necessary. This applies to intervention studies in factories of the spinning industry to prevent complaints of the legs and shoulders.
OBJECTIVES—To assess the occurrence and persistence of two restrictively defined neck-shoulder disorders among sewing machine operators. To assess factors associated with the development of neck-shoulder disorder and prognostic factors for remaining a case, when disorders were already present.
METHODS—In an initial group of 243 sewing machine operators, 178 were followed up for 2 years. At baseline and at 1 and 2 years follow up the participants underwent a clinical examination of the neck and arms and filled in a questionnaire about current musculoskeletal complaints. Clinical criteria for two main neck-shoulder disorders were defined: rotator cuff tendinitis and myofascial pain syndrome. A baseline control group consisted of 357 women with varied non-repetitive work.
RESULTS—At baseline the overall prevalence of myofascial pain syndrome and rotator cuff tendinitis was 15.2% and 5.8% among sewing machine operators compared with 9.0% and 2.2%, respectively, among controls. The presence of the disorders was strongly associated with a self perception of poor general health. Although myofascial pain syndrome showed a U shaped association with years as a sewing machine operator, rotator cuff tendinitis was absent among the newest recruits and present among 15% of the women with more than 20 years as a sewing machine operator. Besides years as a sewing machine operator, the risk of having a neck-shoulder disorder at baseline was significantly associated with high stress (prevalence ratio (PR)=2.54; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.28 to 5.05) when adjusted for age, body mass index, smoking, living alone with children, job strain, and social support from colleagues and supervisors. Only one of 13 participants with rotator cuff tendinitis at baseline recovered during follow up. Myofascial pain syndrome showed a much more fluctuating tendency. Low social support (RR 3.72; 95% CI 1.22 to 11.30) and smoking (RR 3.93; 95% CI 1.33 to 11.58) were associated with the development of neck-shoulder disorders, which was also associated with neck-shoulder pain score and living alone with children.
CONCLUSION—Rotator cuff tendinitis showed a higher degree of persistence than myofascial pain syndrome. Both disorders highly influenced the perception of general health. Women who lived alone with children, were smokers, or experienced low support from colleagues and supervisors had a higher risk of contracting a neck-shoulder disorder.
Keywords: rotator cuff syndrome; myofascial pain syndrome; follow up study; prognostic risk factors
OBJECTIVES: To (a) describe differences in the outcome of cross sectional and longitudinal analysis on musculoskeletal complaints relative to age and work demands, and (b) to assess the entrance and drop out selection on musculoskeletal complaints among groups of employees relative to age and work demands. METHODS: A study population was selected on the basis of questionnaire data from periodical occupational health surveys of almost 45,000 employees collected between 1982 and 1993. From all companies within this data base that participated twice in company wide surveys four years apart, male employees were selected, and stratified for age and work demands. There were several populations: follow up (participation in both surveys); drop out (participation only in the first survey); entrance (participation only at the second survey); and two cross sectional populations (all participants at each survey). Prevalences of back complaints and turnover rates were analysed. RESULTS: Reported back complaints in the cross sectional analysis declined over the oldest age groups in heavy physical work versus a small increase in the longitudinal analysis. The age group 50-9 and back complaints were identified as predictors at the first survey for not participating at the second survey. Neither age nor work demands at the first survey indicated drop out among those employees with back complaints at the first survey. The effects of entrance selection on estimated prevalences were small. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that musculoskeletal disorders lead to selection out of work, affecting the validity of both cross sectional and longitudinal epidemiological studies. In future studies analyses of turnover figures on musculoskeletal complaints relative to work demands and age are recommended.
Many women suffer from health problems after giving birth, which can lead to sick leave. About 30% of Dutch workers are on sick leave after maternity leave. Structural contact of supervisors with employees on maternity leave, supported by early medical advice of occupational physicians, may increase the chances of return-to-work after maternity leave. In addition, to understand the process of sick leave and return-to-work after childbirth it is important to gain insight into which factors hinder return-to-work after childbirth, as well, as which prognostic factors lead to the development of postpartum health complaints. In this paper, the design of the Mom@Work study is described.
The Mom@Work study is simultaneously a randomised controlled trial and a cohort study. Pregnant women working for at least 12 hours a week at one of the 15 participating companies are eligible to participate. The supervisors of these pregnant employees are randomised at 35 weeks pregnancy into the intervention group or control group. During maternity leave, supervisors in the intervention group contact their employee six weeks after delivery using a structured interview. When employees do not expect to return to their jobs at the end of their scheduled maternity leave due to health problems, the supervisor offers early support of the occupational physician. Supervisors in the control group have no structural contact with their employees during maternity leave. Measurements take place at 30 weeks pregnancy and at 6, 12, 24 and 52 weeks postpartum. In addition, cost data are collected. For the RCT, primary outcome measures are sick leave and return-to-work, and secondary outcome measures are costs, health, satisfaction with intervention and global feelings of recovery. Outcome measures for the cohort are pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain, fatigue and depression. Finally, a number of prognostic factors for return-to-work and for the development of complaints will be measured.
The Mom@Work study will provide important information about return-to-work of employees after giving birth. Results will give insight in prognosis of postpartum sick leave and complaints. Also, the role of supervisors and occupational physicians in successful return-to-work after childbirth will be clarified.
Physical therapists working in the State of Kuwait are at risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). However, prevalence rates and risk factors are not well documented. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence, characteristics, and impacts of WMSDs among physical therapists in the State of Kuwait.
A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 350 physical therapists. The questionnaire gathered demographic data as well as information on occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints in the previous 12 months. Descriptive statistics, frequency, and Chi-square analyses were used.
The response rate to the questionnaire was 63% (222/350). Of the 212 responders included in the study, the one-year prevalence of WMSDs was 47.6%, with lower back complaints as the most common (32%). This was followed by neck (21%), upper back (19%), shoulder (13%), hand/wrist (11%), knee (11%), ankle/foot (6%), elbow (4%), and hip/thigh (3%) complaints. The frequency of WMSDs was not gender related (except lower back, neck, and shoulder complaints) nor was it related to age (except lower back complaints), working venues (except hand/wrist), working hours, area of specialty, or exercise. WMSDs' impact on work was minor.
WMSDs among physical therapists in Kuwait were common, with lower back and neck affected most. Lower back and neck WMSDs were related to the participant's demographics. Hand/wrist WMSDs were related to work settings. Further research is needed to investigate the effect of risk factors as physical load, psychosocial load, and general health status on prevalence musculoskeletal disorders.
OBJECTIVES: To examine changes in musculoskeletal complaints over four years in groups of employees relative to age and work demands. METHODS: Repeated questionnaire data of male employees in heavy physical work (exposed group, n = 7324) and mental work (control group, n = 4686), stratified for age (20-9, 30-9, 40-9, 50-9), were analysed. For each employee, data on the occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints from two surveys with a mean interval of around four years were available. Changes in prevalences over the follow up interval were analysed. Proportions of new, recovered, and chronic cases as well as those free of complaints at both surveys were studied. RESULTS: For most complaints, there were significantly greater increases in prevalences in the exposed group compared with the control group over the follow up interval particularly within the group aged 40-9 for back, neck, and several sites of the upper and lower limbs. The 20-9 year age group also had significantly greater changes for several musculoskeletal complaints. Within the oldest age group (50-9) exposure to heavy physical work demands only affected changes in prevalences of neck and upper arm complaints. After four years in the cohort free of complaints at the start of the follow up the group aged 40-9 had the highest prevalence of complaints of the back, neck, and the upper and lower limbs. CONCLUSIONS: Middle aged and younger employees develop musculoskeletal complaints as a result of exposure to heavy physical work. In the oldest age group health related selection seems to mask the occupational health risks under study. To prevent the expected increase in musculoskeletal disorders and related work disability in our aging workforce, preventive measures should be taken at all stages of a working life.
Complaints of arm, neck and shoulder are a major health problem in Western societies and a huge economic burden due to sickness absence and health-care costs. In 2003 the 12-month prevalence’s in the Netherlands were estimated at 31.4% for neck pain, 30.3% for shoulder pain, and 17.5% for wrist and hand pain. Research data suggest that these complaints are increasingly common among university students. The aims of the present study are to provide insight into the prevalence of complaints of arm, neck or shoulder in a university population, to evaluate the clinical course of these complaints and to identify prognostic factors which influence this course.
The present study is designed as a prospective cohort study, in which a cross-sectional survey is embedded. A self-administered cross-sectional survey will be conducted to gain insight into the prevalence of complaints of arm, neck or shoulder among university students and staff, and to identify persons who are eligible for follow up in the prognostic cohort study. Patients with a new complaint of pain and discomfort in neck and upper extremities between 18–65 years will be asked to participate in the prognostic cohort study. At baseline, after 6, 12, 26 and 52 weeks individual patient data will be collected by means of digitized self-administered questionnaires. The following putative prognostic determinants will be investigated: socio-demographic factors, work-related factors, complaint characteristics, physical activity and psychosocial factors.
The primary outcome is subjective recovery. Secondary outcomes are functional limitations of the arm, neck, shoulder and hand, and complaint severity during the previous week.
To our knowledge, this is the first prognostic study on the course of complaints of arm, neck or shoulder that is conducted within a university population. Moreover, there are hardly any studies that have estimated the prevalence of these complaints among university students. The results of this study can be used for patient education and management decisions, as well as for the development of interventions. Moreover, identification of high risk groups in the population is needed to generate hypotheses or explanations of health differences and for the design of prevention programs.
CANS; Upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders; Prevalence; Prognostic factors; Course; Cohort study; Survey
The study aimed to assess the relative importance of personal and occupational risk factors for upper-extremity musculoskeletal disorders (UEMSDs) in the working population.
A total of 3,710 workers (58% of men) participating in a surveillance program of MSDs in a French region in 2002–2005 were included. UEMSDs were diagnosed by 83 trained occupational physicians performing a standardized physical examination. Personal factors and work exposure were assessed by a self-administered questionnaire. Statistical associations between MSDs, personal and occupational factors were analyzed using logistic regression modeling.
A total of 472 workers suffered from at least one UEMSD. The risk of UEMSDs increased with age for both genders (P<0.001) (O.R. up to 4.9 in men and 5.0 and in women) and in cases of prior history of UEMSDs (OR 3.1 and 5.0, P<0.001). In men, UEMSDs were associated with obesity (OR 2.2, P=0.014), high level of physical demand (OR 2.0, P<0.001), high repetitiveness of the task (OR 1.5, P=0.027), postures with the arms at or above shoulder level (OR 1.7, P=0.009) or with full elbow flexion (OR 1.6, P=0.006), and high psychological demand (O.R. 1.5, P=0.005). In women, UEMSDs were associated with diabetes mellitus (O.R. 4.9, P=0.001), postures with extreme wrist bending (OR 2.0, P<0.001), use of vibrating hand tools (O.R. 2.2, P=0.025) and low level of decision authority (OR 1.4, P=0.042).
The study showed that personal and work-related physical and psychosocial factors were strongly associated with clinically-diagnosed UEMSDs.
Musculoskeletal disorders; upper extremity; risk factors; personal factors; physical exposure; psychosocial factors; work; Adult; Employment; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Musculoskeletal Diseases; diagnosis; epidemiology; etiology; Occupational Diseases; diagnosis; epidemiology; etiology; Risk Factors; Safety Management; Upper Extremity; pathology; physiopathology
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