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1.  Responsibility for managing musculoskeletal disorders – A cross-sectional postal survey of attitudes 
Background
Musculoskeletal disorders are a major burden on individuals, health systems and social care systems and rehabilitation efforts in these disorders are considerable. Self-care is often considered a cost effective treatment alternative owing to limited health care resources. But what are the expectations and attitudes in this question in the general population? The purpose of this study was to describe general attitudes to responsibility for the management of musculoskeletal disorders and to explore associations between attitudes and background variables.
Methods
A cross-sectional, postal questionnaire survey was carried out with a random sample of a general adult Swedish population of 1770 persons. Sixty-one percent (n = 1082) responded to the questionnaire and was included for the description of general attitudes towards responsibility for the management of musculoskeletal disorders. For the further analyses of associations to background variables 683–693 individuals could be included. Attitudes were measured by the "Attitudes regarding Responsibility for Musculoskeletal disorders" (ARM) instrument, where responsibility is attributed on four dimensions; to myself, as being out of my hands, to employers or to (medical) professionals. Multiple logistic regression was used to explore associations between attitudes to musculoskeletal disorders and the background variables age, sex, education, physical activity, presence of musculoskeletal disorders, sick leave and whether the person had visited a care provider.
Results
A majority of participants had internal views, i.e. showed an attitude of taking personal responsibility for musculoskeletal disorders, and did not place responsibility for the management out of their own hands or to employers. However, attributing shared responsibility between self and medical professionals was also found.
The main associations found between attitude towards responsibility for musculoskeletal disorders and investigated background variables were that physical inactivity (OR 2.92–9.20), musculoskeletal disorder related sick leave (OR 2.31–3.07) and no education beyond the compulsory level (OR 3.12–4.76) increased the odds of attributing responsibility externally, i.e placing responsibility on someone or something else.
Conclusion
Respondents in this study mainly saw themselves as responsible for managing musculoskeletal disorders. The associated background variables refined this finding and one conclusion is that, to optimise outcome when planning the prevention, treatment and management of these disorders, people's attitudes should be taken into account.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-9-110
PMCID: PMC2533659  PMID: 18681967
2.  Prevention of musculoskeletal disorders in workers: classification and health surveillance – statements of the Scientific Committee on Musculoskeletal Disorders of the International Commission on Occupational Health 
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-109
PMCID: PMC3437218  PMID: 22721454
Occupation; Epidemiology; Prevention; Aetiology; Expert opinion; Occupational health; Public health; Rheumatology; Rehabilitation; Orthopaedics
3.  Patients' views on responsibility for the management of musculoskeletal disorders – A qualitative study 
Background
Musculoskeletal disorders are very common and almost inevitable in an individual's lifetime. Enabling self-management and allowing the individual to take responsibility for care is stated as desired in the management of these disorders, but this may be asking more than people can generally manage. A willingness among people to take responsibility for musculoskeletal disorders and not place responsibility out of their hands or on employers but to be shared with medical professionals has been shown. The aim of the present study was to describe how people with musculoskeletal disorders think and reason regarding responsibility for prevention, treatment and management of the disorder.
Methods
Individual interviews with a strategic sample of 20 individuals with musculoskeletal disorders were performed. The interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed according to qualitative content analysis.
Results
From the interviews an overarching theme was identified: own responsibility needs to be met. The analysis revealed six interrelated categories: Taking on responsibility, Ambiguity about responsibility, Collaborating responsibility, Complying with recommendations, Disclaiming responsibility, and Responsibility irrelevant. These categories described different thoughts and reasoning regarding the responsibility for managing musculoskeletal disorders. Generally the responsibility for prevention of musculoskeletal disorders was described to lie primarily on society/authorities as they have knowledge of what to prevent and how to prevent it. When musculoskeletal disorders have occurred, health care should provide fast accessibility, diagnosis, prognosis and support for recovery. For long-term management, the individuals themselves are responsible for making the most out of life despite disorders.
Conclusion
No matter what the expressions of responsibility for musculoskeletal disorders are, own responsibility needs to be met by society, health care, employers and family in an appropriate way, with as much or as little of the "right type" of support needed, based on the individual's expectations.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-10-103
PMCID: PMC2753559  PMID: 19686602
4.  Physical activity is associated with a low prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders in the Royal Norwegian Navy: a cross sectional study 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-8-56
PMCID: PMC1929072  PMID: 17601352
5.  The WISTAH hand study: A prospective cohort study of distal upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders 
Background
Few prospective cohort studies of distal upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders have been performed. Past studies have provided somewhat conflicting evidence for occupational risk factors and have largely reported data without adjustments for many personal and psychosocial factors.
Methods/design
A multi-center prospective cohort study was incepted to quantify risk factors for distal upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders and potentially develop improved methods for analyzing jobs. Disorders to analyze included carpal tunnel syndrome, lateral epicondylalgia, medial epicondylalgia, trigger digit, deQuervain’s stenosing tenosynovitis and other tendinoses. Workers have thus far been enrolled from 17 different employment settings in 3 diverse US states and performed widely varying work. At baseline, workers undergo laptop administered questionnaires, structured interviews, two standardized physical examinations and nerve conduction studies to ascertain demographic, medical history, psychosocial factors and current musculoskeletal disorders. All workers’ jobs are individually measured for physical factors and are videotaped. Workers are followed monthly for the development of musculoskeletal disorders. Repeat nerve conduction studies are performed for those with symptoms of tingling and numbness in the prior six months. Changes in jobs necessitate re-measure and re-videotaping of job physical factors. Case definitions have been established. Point prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome is a combination of paraesthesias in at least two median nerve-served digits plus an abnormal nerve conduction study at baseline. The lifetime cumulative incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome will also include those with a past history of carpal tunnel syndrome. Incident cases will exclude those with either a past history or prevalent cases at baseline. Statistical methods planned include survival analyses and logistic regression.
Discussion
A prospective cohort study of distal upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders is underway and has successfully enrolled over 1,000 workers to date.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-90
PMCID: PMC3476983  PMID: 22672216
Epidemiology; Ergonomics; Cohort; Carpal tunnel syndrome; Strain index; TLV for HAL
6.  Prevalence of chronic musculoskeletal disorders in elderly Brazilians: a systematic review of the literature 
Background
Population ageing is a worldwide phenomenon that has recently challenged public healthcare systems. The knowledge of the burden of chronic musculoskeletal disorders in elders is still limited, particularly in the developing world. This systematic review aimed to investigate the prevalence of chronic musculoskeletal disorders in elderly Brazilians.
Methods
A comprehensive literature search was performed in five electronic databases (from inception to January 2012) and completed by additional searches in reference lists. Two review authors independently selected the eligible studies and extracted data on participants’ characteristics and rates of chronic musculoskeletal disorders. One review author extracted methodological quality data. We performed a critical synthesis of the results, which were grouped into the diagnoses “chronic musculoskeletal pain” or “specific musculoskeletal diagnoses”.
Results
Twenty five studies reporting on a total of 116,091 elderly Brazilians were included. Eight studies (32%) were of high methodological quality. There was a large variation in the measure of prevalence used by individual studies and in their definition of chronic pain. Prevalence estimates reached 86% for chronic musculoskeletal pain in any location. Studies investigating multiple pain sites found the lower limb and the spine to be the most prevalent complaints (50% each). Arthritis and rheumatism (including osteoarthritis) were the most prevalent specific musculoskeletal diagnoses (9% to 40%), followed by herniated disc (6% to 27%).
Conclusions
Despite the growth of the elderly population worldwide, high-quality research on the burden of chronic musculoskeletal disorders in the elderly is still scarce. Future healthcare research focusing on this age group should be a priority in developing countries since their public healthcare systems are not yet fully prepared to accommodate the needs of an aging population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-82
PMCID: PMC3419071  PMID: 22642899
Prevalence; Epidemiology; Chronic pain; Musculoskeletal disorders; Elderly
7.  The effectiveness of job rotation to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders: protocol of a cluster randomized clinical trial 
Background
Job rotation has often been used in situations where the level of exposure cannot be reduced due to the characteristics of the job or through physical measures. However, the effectiveness of the job rotation strategy at preventing musculoskeletal complaints lacks adequate scientific data.
Methods/Design
A cluster randomized controlled trial will be used to investigate the effectiveness of job rotation to prevent musculoskeletal disorders in industrial workers. The randomized cluster was based in characteristics of production sectors. A total cluster will be 4 sectors, and 957 workers will be recruited from a textile industry and randomly allocated into intervention or control groups. Both groups will receive training on ergonomics guidelines. In addition, the intervention group will perform job rotation, switching between tasks with low, moderate, and high risk for musculoskeletal complaints. The primary outcome will be the number of working hours lost due to sick leave by musculoskeletal injuries recorded in employee administrative data bases. Secondary outcomes measured via survey include: body parts with musculoskeletal pain, the intensity of this pain, physical workload, fatigue, general health status, physical activity level, and work productivity. Secondary outcome measures will be assessed at baseline and after 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. The cost-effectiveness analysis will be performed from the societal and company perspective.
Discussion
Prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders is beneficial for workers, employers, and society. The results of this study will provide new information about the effectiveness of job rotation as a strategy to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
Trial registration
NCT01979731, November 3, 2013
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-170
PMCID: PMC4040481  PMID: 24885958
Job design; Job rotation; Physical workload; Work related musculoskeletal disorders
8.  Musculoskeletal disorders among construction workers: a one-year follow-up study 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-196
PMCID: PMC3489781  PMID: 23061990
Construction industry; Longitudinal study; Work-related musculoskeletal disorders
9.  The interaction of force and repetition on musculoskeletal and neural tissue responses and sensorimotor behavior in a rat model of work-related musculoskeletal disorders 
Background
We examined the relationship of musculoskeletal risk factors underlying force and repetition on tissue responses in an operant rat model of repetitive reaching and pulling, and if force x repetition interactions were present, indicative of a fatigue failure process. We examined exposure-dependent changes in biochemical, morphological and sensorimotor responses occurring with repeated performance of a handle-pulling task for 12 weeks at one of four repetition and force levels: 1) low repetition with low force, 2) high repetition with low force, 3) low repetition with high force, and 4) high repetition with high force (HRHF).
Methods
Rats underwent initial training for 4–6 weeks, and then performed one of the tasks for 12 weeks, 2 hours/day, 3 days/week. Reflexive grip strength and sensitivity to touch were assayed as functional outcomes. Flexor digitorum muscles and tendons, forelimb bones, and serum were assayed using ELISA for indicators of inflammation, tissue stress and repair, and bone turnover. Histomorphometry was used to assay macrophage infiltration of tissues, spinal cord substance P changes, and tissue adaptative or degradative changes. MicroCT was used to assay bones for changes in bone quality.
Results
Several force x repetition interactions were observed for: muscle IL-1alpha and bone IL-1beta; serum TNFalpha, IL-1alpha, and IL-1beta; muscle HSP72, a tissue stress and repair protein; histomorphological evidence of tendon and cartilage degradation; serum biomarkers of bone degradation (CTXI) and bone formation (osteocalcin); and morphological evidence of bone adaptation versus resorption. In most cases, performance of the HRHF task induced the greatest tissue degenerative changes, while performance of moderate level tasks induced bone adaptation and a suggestion of muscle adaptation. Both high force tasks induced median nerve macrophage infiltration, spinal cord sensitization (increased substance P), grip strength declines and forepaw mechanical allodynia by task week 12.
Conclusions
Although not consistent in all tissues, we found several significant interactions between the critical musculoskeletal risk factors of force and repetition, consistent with a fatigue failure process in musculoskeletal tissues. Prolonged performance of HRHF tasks exhibited significantly increased risk for musculoskeletal disorders, while performance of moderate level tasks exhibited adaptation to task demands.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-303
PMCID: PMC3924406  PMID: 24156755
Overuse; Reaching and grasping task; Musculoskeletal disorders; Repetitive strain injury; Cytokines; HSP72; TGFB1
10.  Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders among Nurses in Ibadan, South-west Nigeria: a cross-sectional survey 
Background
Musculoskeletal disorders represent a significant occupational problem among nurses; however, data on musculoskeletal health of nurses in Sub-Sahara Africa are sparse. This study sought to determine the lifetime, 12-months period and point prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs); the associated job risk factors and the coping strategies toward reducing the risk among nurses from selected hospitals in Ibadan, South-west Nigeria
Methods
A previously validated self administered questionnaire which sought information on demographics, prevalence and pattern of WMSDs, associated job risk factors and coping strategies was employed as the survey instrument. A total of 160 questionnaires were distributed to nurses in the different hospitals but 128 questionnaires were returned yielding an 80% response rate. 10 of the returned questionnaires were excluded because of incomplete data.
Results
Eighty-four point four percent of the nurses have had WMSDs once or more in their occupational lives. The 12-months period and point prevalence rate of WMSDs at any body region was 78% and 66.1% respectively. WMSDs occurred mostly in low back (44.1%), neck (28.0%), and knees (22.4%). 30.3% treated themselves or had visited other health practitioners for care. Nurses with > 20 years of clinical experience are about 4 times more likely to develop WMSDs (OR 3.81; CI 1.08-13.4) than those with 11-20 years experience. Working in the same positions for long periods (55.1%), lifting or transferring dependent patients (50.8%) and treating an excessive number of patients in one day (44.9%) were the most perceived job risk factors for WMSDs. Getting help in handling heavy patients (50.4%), modification of nursing procedures in order to avoid re-injury (45.4%), and modifying patient's/nurse position (40.3%) were the top three coping strategies.
Conclusions
A high proportion of Nigerian nurses reported WMSDs at some body site in their occupational lives with the low back being injured most often. Education programmes on prevention and coping strategies for musculoskeletal disorders are recommended for nurses in order to reduce the rate of occupational hazards and also promote efficiency in patient care.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-12
PMCID: PMC2823665  PMID: 20089139
11.  Advanced practice physiotherapy in patients with musculoskeletal disorders: a systematic review 
Background
The convergence of rising health care costs and physician shortages have made health care transformation a priority in many countries resulting in the emergence of new models of care that often involve the extension of the scope of practice for allied health professionals. Physiotherapists in advanced practice/extended scope roles have emerged as key providers in such new models, especially in settings providing services to patients with musculoskeletal disorders. However, evidence of the systematic evaluation of advance physiotherapy practice (APP) models of care is scarce. A systematic review was done to update the evaluation of physiotherapists in APP roles in the management of patients with musculoskeletal disorders.
Methods
Structured literature search was conducted in 3 databases (Medline, Cinahl and Embase) for articles published between 1980 and 2011. Included studies needed to present original quantitative data that addressed the impact or the effect of APP care. A total of 16 studies met all inclusion criteria and were included. Pairs of raters used four structured quality appraisal methodological tools depending on design of studies to analyse included studies.
Results
Included studies varied in designs and objectives and could be categorized in four areas: diagnostic agreement or accuracy compared to medical providers, treatment effectiveness, economic efficiency or patient satisfaction. There was a wide range in the quality of studies (from 25% to 93%), with only 43% of papers reaching or exceeding a score of 70% on the methodological quality rating scales. Their findings are however consistent and suggest that APP care may be as (or more) beneficial than usual care by physicians for patients with musculoskeletal disorders, in terms of diagnostic accuracy, treatment effectiveness, use of healthcare resources, economic costs and patient satisfaction.
Conclusions
The emerging evidence suggests that physiotherapists in APP roles provide equal or better usual care in comparison to physicians in terms of diagnostic accuracy, treatment effectiveness, use of healthcare resources, economic costs and patient satisfaction. There is a need for more methodologically sound studies to evaluate the effectiveness APP care.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-107
PMCID: PMC3599404  PMID: 22716771
12.  Effect of working characteristics and taught ergonomics on the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders amongst dental students 
Background
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are one of the main occupational health hazards affecting dental practitioners. This study was conducted to assess the prevalence of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorder (WMSD) amongst dental students. Possible correlations with the working environment and ergonomics taught in Malaysian dental schools were also sought.
Methods
Five dental schools in Malaysia participated in this cross-sectional study. A validated self-administered questionnaire was used to establish the point prevalence of WMSD in the dental students based on various body regions. The questionnaire also collected data regarding the working environment, clinical practice and the taught ergonomics of the students during their training years.
Results
Out of five hundred and sixty eight dental students who participated in the study, 410 were in their clinical years whilst 158 were students in their non- clinical years. Ninety three percent of the clinical year students reported symptoms of WMSD in one or more body regions. Female students reported a significantly higher numbers of symptoms compared to male students. The neck (82%) and lower back (64%) were reported to have the highest prevalence of WMSD. Discomfort in the neck region was found to be associated with self-reported frequency of bending of the neck. A majority of students (92%) reported minimum participation in workshops related to ergonomics in dentistry and 77% were unfamiliar with treatment and remedies available in the case of WMSD.
Conclusions
There was more WMSD seen in dental students who had started their clinical years. Neck and lower back are more injury prone areas and are at increased risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. Theory and practice of ergonomics should be incorporated into the dental undergraduate curriculum.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-118
PMCID: PMC3626888  PMID: 23547959
Dental students; Musculoskeletal diseases; Work characteristics; Work environment; Ergonomics
13.  Does self-management for return to work increase the effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation for chronic compensated musculoskeletal disorders? - Protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
Background
Musculoskeletal disorders are common and costly disorders to workers compensation and motor accident insurance systems and are a leading contributor to the burden of ill-health. In Australia, vocational rehabilitation is provided to workers to assist them to stay in, or return to work. Self-management training may be an innovative addition to improve health and employment outcomes from vocational rehabilitation.
Methods/Design
The research plan contains mixed methodology consisting of a single blind randomised controlled trial, an economic evaluation and qualitative research. Participants (n = 366) are volunteers with compensated musculoskeletal disorders of 3 months to 3 years in duration who were working at the time of the injury/onset of the chronic disorder. The trial tests the effectiveness of usual vocational rehabilitation plus the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) to which two additional and newly-developed modules have been added, against vocational rehabilitation alone (control) The modules added to the CDSMP focus on how to navigate through compensation systems and manage the return to work process, and aim to be relevant to those in a vocational rehabilitation setting.
The primary outcome of this study is readiness for return to work which will be evaluated using the Readiness for Return-to-Work scale. Secondary outcomes include return to work status, health efficacy (heiQ™ questionnaire) and general health status (SF-12v2® Health Survey). Measures will be taken at baseline, immediately post-intervention and at 6- and 12- months post-intervention by an independent assessor. An economic evaluation will compare the costs and outcomes between the intervention and control groups in terms of cost-effectiveness and a partial cost-benefit or cost analysis. The impact of the intervention will also be evaluated qualitatively, in terms of its acceptability to stakeholders.
Discussion
This article describes the protocol for a single blind randomised controlled trial with a one year follow-up. The results will provide evidence for the addition or not of self-management training within vocational rehabilitation for chronic compensated musculoskeletal disorders.
Trial Registration
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12609000843257
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-115
PMCID: PMC2893451  PMID: 20534168
14.  Agreement between a self-administered questionnaire on musculoskeletal disorders of the neck-shoulder region and a physical examination 
Background
In epidemiological studies on neck-shoulder disorders, physical examination by health professionals, although more expensive, is usually considered a better method of data collection than self-administered questionnaires on symptoms. However, little is known on the comparison of these two methods of data collection. The agreement between self-administered questionnaires and the physical examination on the presence of neck-shoulders disorders was assessed in the present study.
Methods
This study was conducted among clerical workers using video display units. Prevalent cases were workers for whom neck-shoulder symptoms were present for at least 3 days during the previous 7 days and for whom pain intensity was greater than 50 mm on a 100 mm visual analogue scale. All 85 workers meeting this definition and a random sample of 102 workers who did not meet this definition were selected. Physical examination included measures of active range of motion and musculoskeletal strength. Cohen's kappa and global percent agreement were calculated to compare the two methods of data collection. The effect on the agreement of different question and physical examination definitions and the importance of the time interval elapsed between the administrations of the tests were also evaluated.
Results
Kappa coefficients ranged from 0.19 to 0.54 depending on the definitions used to ascertain disorders. The agreement was highest when the two instruments were administered 21 days apart or less (Kappa = 0.54, global agreement = 77%). It was not substantially improved by the addition of criteria related to functional limitations or when comparisons were made with alternative physical examination definitions. Pain intensity recorded during physical examination maneuvers was an important element of the agreement between questionnaire and physical examination findings.
Conclusion
These results suggest a fair to good agreement between the presence of musculoskeletal disorders ascertained by self-administered questionnaire and physical examination that may reflect differences in the constructs measured. Shorter time lags result in better agreement. Investigators should consider these results before choosing a method to measure the presence of musculoskeletal disorders in the neck-shoulder region.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-9-34
PMCID: PMC2311294  PMID: 18366656
15.  Prevalence, characteristics, and impacts of work-related musculoskeletal disorders: a survey among physical therapists in the State of Kuwait 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-116
PMCID: PMC2905326  PMID: 20540724
16.  Studying the association between musculoskeletal disorders, quality of life and mental health. A primary care pilot study in rural Crete, Greece 
Background
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.
Methods
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).
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-10-143
PMCID: PMC2785760  PMID: 19930570
17.  Work-related musculoskeletal disorders : A survey of physical therapists in Izmir-Turkey 
Background
This study was planned to collect data about causes, prevalence and responses to work-related musculoskeletal disorders reported by physiotherapists employed in Izmir, Turkey.
Method
A two-page survey with closed ended questions was used as the data collected method. This survey was distributed to 205 physiotherapists working in Izmir, Turkey, and 120 physiotherapists answered. Questions included occupational history of physiotherapists and musculoskeletal symptoms, special areas, tasks, job-related risk factors, injury prevention strategies, and responses to injury.
Results
Eighty-five percent of the physiotherapists have had a musculoskeletal injury once or more in their lifetime. Injuries have been occurred mostly in low back (26 %), hand-wrist (18 %), shoulders (14 %) and neck (12 %). The highest risk factor in causing the injury was transferring the patient at 15%. Sixty-nine percent of physiotherapists visited a physician for their injury and sixty-seven percent of the respondents indicated that they had not limited their patient contact time as a result to their injury
Conclusions
According to the results of this study, the rate of musculoskeletal disorders in physiotherapists in Izmir-Turkey has been found to be high due to their profession. Respondents felt that a change in work habits was required in order to decrease the risk of another injury.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-27
PMCID: PMC516038  PMID: 15315712
18.  Cost-effectiveness of a participatory return-to-work intervention for temporary agency workers and unemployed workers sick-listed due to musculoskeletal disorders: design of a randomised controlled trial 
Background
Within the working population there is a vulnerable group: workers without an employment contract and workers with a flexible labour market arrangement, e.g. temporary agency workers. In most cases, when sick-listed, these workers have no workplace/employer to return to. Also, for these workers access to occupational health care is limited or even absent in many countries. For this vulnerable working population there is a need for tailor-made occupational health care, including the presence of an actual return-to-work perspective. Therefore, a participatory return-to-work program has been developed based on a successful return-to-work intervention for workers, sick-listed due to low back pain.
The objective of this paper is to describe the design of a randomised controlled trial to study the (cost-)effectiveness of this newly developed participatory return-to-work program adapted for temporary agency workers and unemployed workers, sick-listed due to musculoskeletal disorders, compared to usual care.
Methods/Design
The design of this study is a randomised controlled trial with one year of follow-up. The study population consists of temporary agency workers and unemployed workers sick-listed between 2 and 8 weeks due to musculoskeletal disorders. The new return-to-work program is a stepwise program aimed at making a consensus-based return-to-work implementation plan with the possibility of a (therapeutic) workplace to return-to-work. Outcomes are measured at baseline, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. The primary outcome measure is duration of the sickness benefit period after the first day of reporting sick. Secondary outcome measures are: time until first return-to-work, total number of days of sickness benefit during follow-up; functional status; intensity of musculoskeletal pain; pain coping; and attitude, social influence and self-efficacy determinants. Cost-benefit is evaluated from an insurer's perspective. A process evaluation is part of this study.
Discussion
For sick-listed workers without an employment contract there can be gained a lot by improving occupational health care, including return-to-work guidance, and by minimising the 'labour market handicap' by creating a return-to-work perspective. In addition, reduction of sickness absence and work disability, i.e. a reduction of disability claims, may result in substantial benefits for the Dutch Social Security System.
Trial registration
Trial registration number: NTR1047.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-60
PMCID: PMC2858719  PMID: 20346183
19.  Computer work and musculoskeletal disorders of the neck and upper extremity: A systematic review 
Background
This review examines the evidence for an association between computer work and neck and upper extremity disorders (except carpal tunnel syndrome).
Methods
A systematic critical review of studies of computer work and musculoskeletal disorders verified by a physical examination was performed.
Results
A total of 22 studies (26 articles) fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Results show limited evidence for a causal relationship between computer work per se, computer mouse and keyboard time related to a diagnosis of wrist tendonitis, and for an association between computer mouse time and forearm disorders. Limited evidence was also found for a causal relationship between computer work per se and computer mouse time related to tension neck syndrome, but the evidence for keyboard time was insufficient. Insufficient evidence was found for an association between other musculoskeletal diagnoses of the neck and upper extremities, including shoulder tendonitis and epicondylitis, and any aspect of computer work.
Conclusions
There is limited epidemiological evidence for an association between aspects of computer work and some of the clinical diagnoses studied. None of the evidence was considered as moderate or strong and there is a need for more and better documentation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-79
PMCID: PMC2874766  PMID: 20429925
20.  Prevalence and risk factors for foot and ankle musculoskeletal disorders experienced by nurses 
Background
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.
Methods
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).
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-196
PMCID: PMC4061517  PMID: 24902582
21.  Sick leave patterns in common musculoskeletal disorders – a study of doctor prescribed sick leave 
Background
Comparative data on sick leave within musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is limited. Our objective was to give a descriptive overview of sick leave patterns in different MSDs.
Methods
Using electronic medical records, we collected information on dates and diagnostic codes for all available sick leave certificates, during 2 years (2009–2010), in the North Western part of the Skåne region in Sweden (22 public primary health care centres and two general hospitals). Using the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 10 codes on the certificates we studied duration, age and sex distribution and recurrent periods of sick leave for six strategically chosen MSDs; low back pain (M54) disc disorders (M51), knee osteoarthritis (M17) hip osteoarthritis (M16) rheumatoid arthritis (M05-M06) and myalgia (M79).
Results
All together 20 251 sick leave periods were issued for 16 673 individuals 16–64 years of age (53% women). Out of the selected disorders, low back pain and myalgia had the shortest sick leave periods, with a mean of 26 and 27 days, respectively, while disc disorders and rheumatoid arthritis had the longest periods with a mean of 150 and 147 days. For low back pain and myalgia 27% and 26% of all sick leave was short (8–14 days) and only 11% and 13%, were long (≥90 days). For the other selected MSDs, less than 5% of the periods were short. For disc disorders, hip osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, more than 60% of the periods were long (p > 0.001). For back disorders and myalgia most periods were issued in the age groups between 40–49, with similar patterns for women and men. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis had most periods in the age groups of 50–64, and patterns for women and men differed. Low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis and myalgia had the greatest share of recurrent sick leave (31%, 34% and 32% respectively).
Conclusion
Duration, age and sex distribution and numbers of recurrent sick leave varies considerably between different MSDs. This underscores the importance of using specified diagnosis, in sick leave research as well as in planning of treatment and rehabilitation and evaluation of prognosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-176
PMCID: PMC4060756  PMID: 24886568
Sick leave; Musculoskeletal; Duration of sick leave; Diagnosis; Back pain; Osteoarthritis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Myalgia
22.  Work-related musculoskeletal disorders among Nigerian Physiotherapists 
Background
Physiotherapists are known to be prone to Work- related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMDs) but its prevalence among physiotherapists in Nigeria has not been reported. This study investigated the prevalence and work factors of WRMDs among physiotherapists in Nigeria.
Methods
A cross- sectional survey was administered to physiotherapists in different parts of Nigeria using a 2- part questionnaire with items adopted from questionnaires used for similar studies around the world. Two hundred and seventeen copies of the questionnaire were distributed for self administration but 126 physiotherapists returned completed surveys for a 58.1% response. The data were analyzed using SPPS version 10 at alpha level of 0.05. Descriptive statistics of frequency and percentages and inferential statistics of x2 were used as appropriate for data analysis.
Results
Reported 12- month prevalence of WRMDs among Nigerian physiotherapists was 91.3%. Prevalence of WRMDs was significantly higher in female physiotherapists (p = 0.007) and those with lower body mass index (p = 0.045). The low back (69.8%) was the most commonly affected body part, followed by the neck (34.1%). Fifty percent of the physiotherapists first experienced their WRMDs within five years of graduation and the highest prevalence (61.7%) was found among physiotherapists younger than 30 years. Treating large number of patients in a day was cited by most (83.5%) of the respondents as the most important work factor for their WRMDs. The most commonly adopted coping strategy identified was for the therapists to modify their position and/or the patient's position (64.3%). Majority of the respondents (87.0%) did not leave the profession but 62.6% changed and/or modified their treatment because of their WRMDs.
Conclusion
The prevalence of WRMDs among physiotherapists in Nigeria is higher than most values reported for their counterparts around the world. The coping strategies and work factors of WRMDs among Nigerian physiotherapists are mostly similar to those of their counterparts elsewhere.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-9-112
PMCID: PMC2535595  PMID: 18710570
23.  Promoting work ability in a structured national rehabilitation program in patients with musculoskeletal disorders: outcomes and predictors in a prospective cohort study 
Background
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a major reason for impaired work productivity and sick leave. In 2009, a national rehabilitation program was introduced in Sweden to promote work ability, and patients with MSDs were offered multimodal rehabilitation. The aim of this study was to analyse the effect of this program on health related quality of life, function, sick leave and work ability.
Methods
We conducted a prospective, observational cohort study including 406 patients with MSDs attending multimodal rehabilitation. Changes over time and differences between groups were analysed concerning function, health related quality of life, work ability and sick leave. Regression analyses were used to study the outcome variables health related quality of life (measured with EQ-5D), and sick leave.
Results
Functional ability and health related quality of life improved after rehabilitation. Patients with no sick leave/disability pension the year before rehabilitation, improved health related quality of life more than patients with sick leave/disability pension the year before rehabilitation (p = 0.044). During a period of −/+ four months from rehabilitation start, patients with EQ-5D ≥ 0.5 at rehabilitation start, reduced their net sick leave days with 0.5 days and patients with EQ-5D <0.5 at rehabilitation start, increased net sick leave days with 1.5 days (p = 0.019). Factors negatively associated with sick leave at follow-up were earlier episodes of sick leave/disability pension, problems with exercise tolerance functions and mobility after rehabilitation. Higher age was associated with not being on sick leave at follow-up and reaching an EQ-5D ≥ 0.5 at follow-up. Severe pain after rehabilitation, problems with exercise tolerance functions, born outside of Sweden and full-time sick leave/disability pension the year before rehabilitation were all associated with an EQ-5D level < 0.5 at follow-up.
Conclusions
Patients with MSDs participating in a national work promoting rehabilitation program significantly improved their health related quality of life and functional ability, especially those with no sick leave. This shows that vocational rehabilitation programs in a primary health care setting are effective. The findings of this study can also be valuable for more appropriate patient selection for rehabilitation programs for MSDs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-57
PMCID: PMC3626929  PMID: 23384339
Sick leave; Musculoskeletal pain; Multimodal rehabilitation; Health related quality of life; Function
24.  Magnitude of impact and healthcare use for musculoskeletal disorders in the paediaric: a population-based study 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-98
PMCID: PMC3493363  PMID: 22691633
25.  A systematic review of musculoskeletal disorders among school teachers 
Background
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) represent one of the most common and most expensive occupational health problems in both developed and developing countries. School teachers represent an occupational group among which there appears to be a high prevalence of MSD. Given that causes of MSD have been described as multi-factorial and prevalence rates vary between body sites and location of study, the objective of this systematic review was to investigate the prevalence and risk factors for MSD among teaching staff.
Methods
The study involved an extensive search of MEDLINE and EMBASE databases in 2011. All studies which reported on the prevalence and/or risk factors for MSD in the teaching profession were initially selected for inclusion. Reference lists of articles identified in the original search were then examined for additional publications. Of the 80 articles initially located, a final group of 33 met the inclusion criteria and were examined in detail.
Results
This review suggests that the prevalence of self-reported MSD among school teachers ranges between 39% and 95%. The most prevalent body sites appear to be the back, neck and upper limbs. Nursery school teachers appear to be more likely to report suffering from low back pain. Factors such as gender, age, length of employment and awkward posture have been associated with higher MSD prevalence rates.
Conclusion
Overall, this study suggests that school teachers are at a high risk of MSD. Further research, preferably longitudinal, is required to more thoroughly investigate the issue of MSD among teachers, with a greater emphasis on the possible wider use of ergonomic principles. This would represent a major step forward in the prevention of MSD among teachers, especially if easy to implement control measures could be recommended.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-260
PMCID: PMC3250950  PMID: 22087739

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