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1.  Risk factors for sickness absence due to low back pain and prognostic factors for return to work in a cohort of shipyard workers 
European Spine Journal  2008;17(9):1185-1192.
The purpose of this study was to determine risk factors for the occurrence of sickness absence due to low back pain (LBP) and to evaluate prognostic factors for return to work. A longitudinal study with 1-year follow-up was conducted among 853 shipyard workers. The cohort was drawn around January 2004 among employees in the shipyard industry. Baseline information was obtained by questionnaire on physical and psychosocial work load, need for recovery, perceived general health, musculoskeletal complaints, sickness absence, and health care use during the past year. During the 1-year follow-up for each subject medical certifications were retrieved for information on the frequency and duration of spells of sickness absence and associated diagnoses. Cox regression analyses were conducted on occurrence and on duration of sickness absence with hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence interval (95% CI) as measure of association. During the 1-year follow-up period, 14% of the population was on sick leave at least once with LBP while recurrence reached 41%. The main risk factors for sickness absence were previous absence due to a health problem other than LBP (HR 3.07; 95%CI 1.66–5.68) or previous sickness absence due to LBP (HR 6.52; 95%CI 3.16–13.46). Care seeking for LBP and lower educational level also hold significant influences (HR 2.41; 95%CI 1.45–4.01 and HR 2.46; 95%CI 1.19–5.07, respectively). Living with others, night shift and supervising duties were associated with less absenteeism due to LBP. Workers with a history of herniated disc had a significantly decreased rate of returning to work, whereas those who suffered from hand-wrist complaints and LBP returned to work faster. Prior sick leave due to LBP partly captured the effects of work-related physical and psychosocial factors on occurrence of sick leave. Our study showed that individual and job characteristics (living alone, night shift, lower education, sick leave, or care seeking during the last 12 months) influenced the decision to take sick leave due to LBP. An increased awareness of those frequently on sick leave and additional management after return to work may have a beneficial effect on the sickness absence pattern.
PMCID: PMC2527417  PMID: 18649089
Low back pain; Sick leave; Prognosis; Recurrence; Return to work
2.  Prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders in dentists 
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.
PMCID: PMC441388  PMID: 15189564
3.  Work-life conflict and musculoskeletal disorders: a cross-sectional study of an unexplored association 
The health consequences of work-family or rather work-life conflict (WLC) have been studied by numerous researchers. The work-related causes of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are also well explored. And stress (at work) has been found to be a consequence of WLC as well as a cause of MSD. But very little is known about a potential association between WLC and MSD and the possible mediating role of stress in this relationship.
Survey data collected in 2007 among the workforces of four large companies in Switzerland were used for this study. The study population covered 6091 employees. As the exposure variable and hypothesized risk factor for MSD, WLC was measured by using a 10-item scale based on an established 18-item scale on work-family conflict. The outcome variables used as indicators of MSD were (low) back pain and neck/shoulder pain. Stress as the assumed intervening variable was assessed by a validated single-item measure of general stress perception. Correlation coefficients (r), standardized regression coefficients (β) and multiple adjusted odds ratios (OR) were calculated as measures of association.
WLC was found to be quite strongly associated with MSD (β = .21). This association turned out to be substantially confounded by physical strain at work, workload and job autonomy and was considerably reduced but far from being completely eliminated after adjusting for general stress as another identified risk factor of MSD and a proven strong correlate of WLC (r = .44). A significant and relevant association still remained (β = .10) after having controlled for all considered covariates. This association could be fully attributed to only one direction of WLC, namely the work-to-life conflict. In subsequent analyses, a clear gradient between this WLC direction and both types of MSD was found, and proved to be consistent for both men and women. Employees who were most exposed to such work-to-life conflict were also most at risk and showed a fivefold higher prevalence rate (19%-42%) and also an up to sixfold increased relative risk (OR = 3.8-6.3) of suffering greatly from these types of MSD compared with the least exposed reference group showing very low WLC in this direction. Including stress in the regression models again reduced the strength of the association significantly (OR = 1.9-4.1), giving an indication for a possible indirect effect of WLC on MSD mediated by stress.
Future research and workplace interventions for the prevention of MSD need to consider WLC as an important stressor, and the MSD risk factor identified in this study.
PMCID: PMC3073966  PMID: 21410950
4.  Musculoskeletal Disorders among Cosmetologists 
A cross-sectional study was performed to investigate the relationships between physical, psychosocial, and individual characteristics and different endpoints of low back, neck, shoulder, hand/wrist and knee musculoskeletal complaints among cosmetologists in Athens, Greece. The study population consisted of 95 female and seven male beauty therapists (response rate 90%) with a mean age and duration of employment of 38 and 16 years, respectively. Neck pain was the most prevalent musculoskeletal complaint, reported by 58% of the subjects, while hand/wrist and low back complaints resulted more frequently in self-reported consequences (chronicity, care seeking and absenteeism). Significant relationships were found between self-reported physical risk factors like prolonged sitting, use of vibrating tools, reaching far and awkward body postures and the occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders at various body sites. Among psychosocial variables co-worker support and skill discretion seem to be the most important reflecting organizational problems and cognitive-behavioral aspects. The study results also suggest that effective intervention strategies most likely have to take into account both ergonomic improvements and organizational aspects.
PMCID: PMC2800326  PMID: 20049238
cosmetologists; beauty therapists; aestheticians; beauty salons; musculoskeletal complaints; occupational health; epidemiology; Greece
5.  Sickness Absence in the Private Sector of Greece: Comparing Shipyard Industry and National Insurance Data 
Approximately 3% of employees are absent from work due to illness daily in Europe, while in some countries sickness absence exceeds 20 days per year. Based on a limited body of reliable studies, Greek employees in the private sector seem to be absent far less frequently (<5 days/year) compared to most of the industrialized world. The aim of this study was to estimate the levels of sickness absence in the private sector in Greece, using shipyard and national insurance data. Detailed data on absenteeism of employees in a large shipyard company during the period 1999–2006 were utilized. National data on compensated days due to sickness absence concerning all employees (around 2 million) insured by the Social Insurance Institute (IKA, the largest insurance scheme in Greece) were retrieved from the Institute’s annual statistical reports for the period 1987–2006. Sick-leave days per employee and sick-leave rate (%) were calculated, among other indicators. In the shipyard cohort, the employment time loss due to sick leave was 1%. The mean number of sick-leave days per employee in shipyards ranged between 4.6 and 8.7 and sick-leave rate (sickness absenteeism rate) varied among 2% and 3.7%. The corresponding indicators for IKA were estimated between 5 and 6.3 sick-leave days per insured employee (median 5.8), and 2.14–2.72% (median 2.49%), respectively. Short sick-leave spells (<4 days) may account at least for the 25% of the total number of sick-leave days, currently not recorded in national statistics. The level of sickness absence in the private sector in Greece was found to be higher than the suggested by previous reports and international comparative studies, but still remains one of the lowest in the industrialized world. In the 20-years national data, the results also showed a 7-year wave in sickness absence indexes (a decrease during the period 1991–1997 and an increase in 1998–2004) combined with a small yet significant decline as a general trend. These observations deserve detailed monitoring and could only partly be attributed to the compensation and unemployment rates in Greece so other possible reasons should be explored.
PMCID: PMC3366606  PMID: 22690189
sickness absence; sick leave; occupational health; social insurance; employment; compensation; shipyard; industry; Greece
6.  Intervention mapping for development of a participatory return-to-work intervention for temporary agency workers and unemployed workers sick-listed due to musculoskeletal disorders 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:216.
In the past decade in activities aiming at return-to-work (RTW), there has been a growing awareness to change the focus from sickness and work disability to recovery and work ability. To date, this process in occupational health care (OHC) has mainly been directed towards employees. However, within the working population there are two vulnerable groups: temporary agency workers and unemployed workers, since they have no workplace/employer to return to, when sick-listed. For this group there is a need for tailored RTW strategies and interventions. Therefore, this paper aims to describe the structured and stepwise process of development, implementation and evaluation of a theory- and practise-based participatory RTW program for temporary agency workers and unemployed workers, sick-listed due to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). This program is based on the already developed and cost-effective RTW program for employees, sick-listed due to low back pain.
The Intervention Mapping (IM) protocol was used to develop a tailor-made RTW program for temporary agency workers and unemployed workers, sick-listed due to MSD. The Attitude-Social influence-self-Efficacy (ASE) model was used as a theoretical framework for determinants of behaviour regarding RTW of the sick-listed worker and development of the intervention. To ensure participation and facilitate successful adoption and implementation, important stakeholders were involved in all steps of program development and implementation. Results of semi-structured interviews and 'fine-tuning' meetings were used to design the final participatory RTW program.
A structured stepwise RTW program was developed, aimed at making a consensus-based RTW implementation plan. The new program starts with identifying obstacles for RTW, followed by a brainstorm session in which the sick-listed worker and the labour expert of the Social Security Agency (SSA) formulate solutions/possibilities for suitable (therapeutic) work. This process is guided by an independent RTW coordinator to achieve consensus. Based on the resulting RTW implementation plan, to create an actual RTW perspective, a vocational rehabilitation agency is assigned to find a matching (therapeutic) workplace. The cost-effectiveness of this participatory RTW program will be evaluated in a randomised controlled trial.
IM is a promising tool for the development of tailor-made OHC interventions for the vulnerable working population.
PMCID: PMC2718881  PMID: 19573229
7.  Musculoskeletal disorders among municipal solid waste collectors in Mansoura, Egypt: a cross-sectional study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e001338.
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.
PMCID: PMC3467652  PMID: 22977187
Epidemiology; Occupational & Industrial Medicine
8.  Low back pain and widespread pain predict sickness absence among industrial workers 
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.
PMCID: PMC200978  PMID: 12956891
sickness absence; musculoskeletal disorders; low back pain; widespread pain; blue-collar workers; social support
9.  Musculoskeletal disorder risk factors among nursing professionals in low resource settings: a cross-sectional study in Uganda 
BMC Nursing  2014;13:7.
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.
PMCID: PMC3940025  PMID: 24565421
Musculoskeletal disorders; Risk factors; Uganda
10.  Effectiveness of early part-time sick leave in musculoskeletal disorders 
The importance of staying active instead of bed rest has been acknowledged in the management of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This emphasizes the potential benefits of adjusting work to fit the employee's remaining work ability. Despite part-time sick leave being an official option in many countries, its effectiveness has not been studied yet. We have designed a randomized controlled study to assess the health effects of early part-time sick leave compared to conventional full-day sick leave. Our hypothesis is that if work time is temporarily reduced and work load adjusted at the early stages of disability, employees with MSDs will have less disability days and faster return to regular work duties than employees on a conventional sick leave.
The study population will consist of 600 employees, who seek medical advice from an occupational physician due to musculoskeletal pain. The inclusion requires that they have not been on a sick leave for longer than 14 days prior to the visit. Based on the physician's judgement, the severity of the symptoms must indicate a need for conventional sick leave, but the employee is considered to be able to work part-time without any additional risk. Half of the employees are randomly allocated to part-time sick leave group and their work time is reduced by 40–60%, whereas in the control group work load is totally eliminated with conventional sick leave. The main outcomes are the number of days from the initial visit to return to regular work activities, and the total number of sick leave days during 12 and 24 months of follow-up. The costs and benefits as well as the feasibility of early part-time sick leave will also be evaluated.
This is the first randomised trial to our knowledge on the effectiveness of early part-time sick leave compared to conventional full-time sick leave in the management of MSDs. The data collection continues until 2011, but preliminary results on the feasibility of part-time sick leave will be available already in 2008. The increased knowledge will assist in better decision making process regarding the management of disability related to MSDs.
Trial Registration
International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register, register number ISRCTN30911719
PMCID: PMC2267790  PMID: 18294405
11.  High physical work load and low job satisfaction increase the risk of sickness absence due to low back pain: results of a prospective cohort study 
Objective: To determine whether physical and psychosocial load at work influence sickness absence due to low back pain.
Methods: The research was a part of the study on musculoskeletal disorders, absenteeism, stress, and health (SMASH), a 3 year prospective cohort study on risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders. Workers from 21 companies located throughout The Netherlands participated in the part of this study on sickness absence due to low back pain. The study population consisted of 732 workers with no sickness absences of 3 days or longer due to low back pain in the 3 months before the baseline survey and complete data on the reasons for absences during the follow up period. The mean (range) period of follow up in this group was 37 (7–44) months. Physical load at work was assessed by analyses of video recordings. Baseline information on psychosocial work characteristics was obtained by a questionnaire. Data on sickness absence were collected from company records. The main outcome measure was the rate of sickness absences of 3 days or longer due to low back pain during the follow up period.
Results: After adjustment of the work related physical and psychosocial factors for each other and for other potential determinants, significant rate ratios ranging from 2.0 to 3.2 were found for trunk flexion, trunk rotation, lifting, and low job satisfaction. A dose-response relation was found for trunk flexion, but not for trunk rotation or lifting. Non-significant rate ratios of about 1.4 were found for low supervisor support and low coworker support. Quantitative job demands, conflicting demands, decision authority, and skill discretion showed no relation with sickness absence due to low back pain.
Conclusions: Flexion and rotation of the trunk, lifting, and low job satisfaction are risk factors for sickness absence due to low back pain. Some indications of a relation between low social support, either from supervisors or coworkers, and sickness absence due to low back pain are also present.
PMCID: PMC1740286  PMID: 11983847
12.  Changes in Physiotherapy Utilization in One Workforce: Implications for Accessibility among Canadian Working-Age Adults 
Healthcare Policy  2011;6(3):e93-e108.
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.
PMCID: PMC3082390  PMID: 22294994
13.  Prognostic factors for disability claim duration due to musculoskeletal symptoms among self-employed persons 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:945.
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.
PMCID: PMC3293101  PMID: 22192533
Work disability predictors; special worker populations; musculoskeletal problems
14.  Studying the association between musculoskeletal disorders, quality of life and mental health. A primary care pilot study in rural Crete, Greece 
The burden of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) on the general health and well-being of the population has been documented in various studies. The objective of this study was to explore the association between MSD and the quality of life and mental health of patients and to discuss issues concerning care seeking patterns in rural Greece.
Patients registered at one rural Primary Care Centre (PCC) in Crete were invited to complete the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) for the analysis of musculoskeletal symptoms, together with validated instruments for measuring health related quality of life (SF-36) and mental distress (GHQ-28).
The prevalence rate of MSD was found to be 71.2%, with low back and knee pain being the most common symptoms. Most conditions significantly impaired the quality of life, especially the physical dimensions of SF-36. Depression was strongly correlated to most MSD (p < 0.001). Multiple logistic analyses revealed that patients who consulted the PCC due to MSD were likely to have more mental distress or impaired physical functioning compared to those who did not.
Musculoskeletal disorders were common in patients attending the rural PCC of this study and were associated with a poor quality of life and mental distress that affected their consultation behaviour.
PMCID: PMC2785760  PMID: 19930570
15.  Magnitude of impact and healthcare use for musculoskeletal disorders in the paediaric: a population-based study 
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.
PMCID: PMC3493363  PMID: 22691633
16.  Can strenuous leisure time physical activity prevent psychological complaints in a working population? 
To investigate the longitudinal relation between strenuous leisure time physical activity and psychological complaints (depression and emotional exhaustion) in a Dutch working population in order to find evidence for the preventive role of physical activity in the development of psychological complaints.
All data came from the Study on Musculoskeletal disorders, Absenteeism, Stress, and Health (SMASH), a three year follow up study that started between 1994 and 1995. The study population consisted of 1747 workers from 34 companies. Generalised estimating equation (GEE) analyses were performed to investigate the longitudinal relation between strenuous leisure time physical activity and psychological complaints using models with and without a time lag. Logistic regression analyses were performed to study the relation between physical activity and sickness absence due to psychological complaints during the three year follow up study.
Only in workers with a sedentary job was strenuous leisure time physical activity (1–2 times per week) significantly associated with a reduced risk of future depression and emotional exhaustion. This was not the case for physical activity at higher frequencies (⩾3 times per week). There was a dose‐response relation between strenuous leisure time physical activity and poor general health which was strongest in workers with a sedentary job. Strenuous leisure time physical activity (1–2 times per week) was associated with a lower risk of long term absenteeism (>21 days), whereas physical activity at a higher frequency was not.
Results suggest that strenuous leisure time physical activity might play a role in the prevention of future psychological complaints, poor general health, and long term absenteeism in a working population. Workers with a sedentary job seem to benefit more from strenuous leisure time physical activity than workers without a sedentary job.
PMCID: PMC2078023  PMID: 16361400
physical activity; depression; emotional exhaustion; sick leave; working population
17.  VIP in construction: systematic development and evaluation of a multifaceted health programme aiming to improve physical activity levels and dietary patterns among construction workers 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:89.
The prevalence of both overweight and musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in the construction industry is high. Many interventions in the occupational setting aim at the prevention and reduction of these health problems, but it is still unclear how these programmes should be designed. To determine the effectiveness of interventions on these health outcomes randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are needed. The aim of this study is to systematically develop a tailored intervention for prevention and reduction of overweight and MSD among construction workers and to describe the evaluation study regarding its (cost-)effectiveness.
The Intervention Mapping (IM) protocol was applied to develop and implement a tailored programme aimed at the prevention and reduction of overweight and MSD. The (cost-) effectiveness of the intervention programme will be evaluated using an RCT. Furthermore, a process evaluation will be conducted. The research population will consist of blue collar workers of a large construction company in the Netherlands.
The intervention programme will be aimed at improving (vigorous) physical activity levels and healthy dietary behaviour and will consist of tailored information, face-to-face and telephone counselling, training instruction (a fitness "card" to be used for exercises), and materials designed for the intervention (overview of the company health promoting facilities, waist circumference measuring tape, pedometer, BMI card, calorie guide, recipes, and knowledge test).
Main study parameters/endpoints
The intervention effect on body weight and waist circumference (primary outcome measures), as well as on lifestyle behaviour, MSD, fitness, CVD risk indicators, and work-related outcomes (i.e. productivity, sick leave) (secondary outcome measures) will be assessed.
The development of the VIP in construction intervention led to a health programme tailored to the needs of construction workers. This programme, if proven effective, can be directly implemented.
Trial registration
Netherlands Trial Register (NTR): NTR2095
PMCID: PMC3280176  PMID: 22289212
Obesity/overweight; Musculoskeletal disorders; RCT; Energy balance related behaviour; Physical activity; Dietary behaviour; Construction workers; Intervention mapping
18.  Physical activity is associated with a low prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders in the Royal Norwegian Navy: a cross sectional study 
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.
PMCID: PMC1929072  PMID: 17601352
19.  Musculoskeletal disorders and symptom severity among Australian dental hygienists 
BMC Research Notes  2013;6:250.
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.
PMCID: PMC3704656  PMID: 23822098
Musculoskeletal disorders; Dental hygienist; Occupational health
20.  Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Full-Time Homemakers in Poor Communities 
Women & health  2005;42(2):1-14.
To examine factors associated with self-reported musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) among full-time female homemakers.
Data on socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyle and health were collected on 1266 married women aged 15-59 years living in poor suburbs in the outskirts of Beirut, Lebanon. Independent associations with MSD of factors and characteristics were examined using odds ratios (ORs) derived from multiple logistic regression.
Women’s age, weight, and number of children were significantly, positively, independently associated with self-reported MSD, while women’s conduct of specific household tasks were not. Women with MSD were more likely to be stressed than women without MSD (OR = 1.5).
A major finding of this study was the positive association between distress and musculoskeletal disorders. The measures used to assess women’s involvement in housework did not account for the duration of time spent performing each household task. Better measures of domestic labor, including housework and childcare, are required to understand better their impact on the health of full-time homemakers and on MSD in particular. Intervention programs to alleviate MSD in full-time homemakers should address psychosocial factors.
PMCID: PMC1821091  PMID: 16537297
Homemakers; currently married; women; musculoskeletal disorders; distress
21.  Prognostic factors for musculoskeletal sickness absence and return to work among welders and metal workers 
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.
PMCID: PMC1757615  PMID: 9816384
22.  Associations Between Academic Stressors, Reaction to Stress, Coping Strategies and Musculoskeletal Disorders Among College Students 
The adverse health effects of stress are enormous, and vary among people, probably because of differences in how stress is appraised and the strategies individuals use to cope with it. This study assessed the association between academic stress and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among 1365 undergraduates.
This was a cross-sectional study conducted in a Nigerian university at the beginning of the 2010/2011 academic session with the same group of participants. The Life Stress Assessment Inventory, Coping Strategies Questionnaire, and Short Musculoskeletal Function Assessment were administered as tools of data gathering.
Students' stress level and associated MSDs were higher during the examination period than the pre-examination periods. Stressors were significantly associated with increased risk of MSDs in both sexes were those related to changes (odds ratio (OR) = 1.7, p = 0.002) and pressures (OR = 2.09, p = 0.001). Emotional and physiological reactions to stress were significantly associated with MSDs in both sexes, with higher odds for MSDs in females, whereas cognitive and behavioral reactions showed higher odds (though non-significant) in males. The risk of MSDs was higher in respondents who adopted avoidance and religious coping strategies compared with those who adopted active practical and distracting coping strategies.
Stress among students could be significantly associated with MSDs depending on individuals' demographics, stressors, reactions to stress, and coping methods. Interventions to reduce stress-induced MSDs among students should consider these factors among others.
PMCID: PMC3742887  PMID: 23950626
Academic stressors; Coping strategies; Musculoskeletal disorders
23.  Musculoskeletal disorders among construction workers: a one-year follow-up study 
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.
PMCID: PMC3489781  PMID: 23061990
Construction industry; Longitudinal study; Work-related musculoskeletal disorders
24.  Musculoskeletal disorders among staff in South Korea’s largest nursing home 
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.
PMCID: PMC2723262  PMID: 21432112
musculoskeletal disorders; nursing home; Korea; low back pain; self-reported
25.  Reliability and validity study of Persian modified version of MUSIC (musculoskeletal intervention center) – Norrtalje questionnaire 
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a major health problem in the world. Self-reported questionnaires are a known method for estimating the prevalence of MSDs among the population. One of the studies concerning MSDs and their relation to work-related physical and psychosocial factors, as well as non-work-related factors, is the MUSIC-Norrtalje study in Sweden. In this study, the research group developed a questionnaire, which has been validated during its development process and is now considered a well-known instrument. The aim of this study is to validate the Persian version of this questionnaire.
The first step was to establish two expert panel groups in Iran and Sweden. The Focus Group Discussion (FGD) method was used to detect questionnaire face and content validity. To detect questionnaire reliability, we used the test-retest method.
Except for two items, all other questions that respondents had problems with in the focus group (20 of 297), had unclear translations; the ambiguity was related to the stem of the questions and the predicted answers were clear for the participants. The concepts of 'household/spare time' and 'physical activity in the workplace' were not understood by the participants of FGD; this has been solved by adding further descriptions to these phrases in the translation. In the test-retest study, the reliability coefficient was relatively high in most items (only 5 items out of 297 had an ICC or kappa below 0.7).
The findings from the present study provide evidence that the Persian version of the MUSIC questionnaire is a reliable and valid instrument.
PMCID: PMC2078587  PMID: 17764557

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