The underlying purpose of this commentary and position paper is to achieve evidence-based recommendations on prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Such prevention can take different forms (primary, secondary and tertiary), occur at different levels (i.e. in a clinical setting, at the workplace, at national level) and involve several types of activities. Members of the Scientific Committee (SC) on MSDs of the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) and other interested scientists and members of the public recently discussed the scientific and clinical future of prevention of (work-related) MSDs during five round-table sessions at two ICOH conferences (in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2009, and in Angers, France, in 2010). Approximately 50 researchers participated in each of the sessions. More specifically, the sessions aimed to discuss new developments since 1996 in measures and classification systems used both in research and in practice, and agree on future needs in the field.
The discussion focused on three questions: At what degree of severity does musculoskeletal ill health, and do health problems related to MSDs, in an individual worker or in a group of workers justify preventive action in occupational health? What reliable and valid instruments do we have in research to distinguish ‘normal musculoskeletal symptoms’ from ‘serious musculoskeletal symptoms’ in workers? What measures or classification system of musculoskeletal health will we need in the near future to address musculoskeletal health and related work ability?
Four new, agreed-upon statements were extrapolated from the discussions: 1. Musculoskeletal discomfort that is at risk of worsening with work activities, and that affects work ability or quality of life, needs to be identified. 2. We need to know our options of actions before identifying workers at risk (providing evidence-based medicine and applying the principle of best practice). 3. Classification systems and measures must include aspects such as the severity, frequency, and intensity of pain, as well as measures of impairment of functioning, which can help in prevention, treatment and prognosis. 4. We need to be aware of economic and/or socio-cultural consequences of classification systems and measures.
Occupation; Epidemiology; Prevention; Aetiology; Expert opinion; Occupational health; Public health; Rheumatology; Rehabilitation; Orthopaedics
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.
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.
A prospective cohort study of distal upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders is underway and has successfully enrolled over 1,000 workers to date.
Epidemiology; Ergonomics; Cohort; Carpal tunnel syndrome; Strain index; TLV for HAL
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.
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”.
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%).
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.
Prevalence; Epidemiology; Chronic pain; Musculoskeletal disorders; Elderly
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are an important cause of functional impairments and disability among construction workers. An improved understanding of MSDs in different construction occupations is likely to be of value for selecting preventive measures. This study aimed to survey the prevalence of symptoms of MSDs, the work-relatedness of the symptoms and the problems experienced during work among two construction occupations: bricklayers and supervisors.
We randomly selected 750 bricklayers and 750 supervisors resident in the Netherlands in December 2009. This sample was surveyed by means of a baseline questionnaire and a follow-up questionnaire one year later. The participants were asked about complaints of the musculoskeletal system during the last six months, the perceived work-relatedness of the symptoms, the problems that occurred during work and the occupational tasks that were perceived as causes or aggravating factors of the MSD.
Baseline response rate was 37%, follow-up response was 80%. The prevalence of MSDs among 267 bricklayers and 232 supervisors was 67% and 57%, respectively. Complaints of the back, knee and shoulder/upper arm were the most prevalent among both occupations. Irrespective of the body region, most of the bricklayers and supervisors reported that their complaints were work-related. Complaints of the back and elbow were the most often reported among the bricklayers during work, whereas lower arm/wrist and upper leg complaints were the most often reported among the supervisors. In both occupations, a majority of the participants perceived several occupational physical tasks and activities as causes or aggravating factors for their MSD. Recurrent complaints at follow-up were reported by both bricklayers (47% of the complaints) and supervisors (31% of the complaints). Participants in both occupations report that mainly back and knee complaints result in additional problems during work, at the time of follow-up.
A substantial number of the bricklayers and the supervisors report musculoskeletal disorders, mainly back, knee and shoulder/upper arm complaints. The majority of the bricklayers and half of the supervisors believe that their complaints are work-related. Irrespective of occupation, participants with MSDs report substantial problems during work. Workplace intervention measures aimed at occupational physical tasks and activities seem justified for both occupations.
Construction industry; Longitudinal study; Work-related musculoskeletal disorders
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain is high among healthcare workers. Knowledge about risk factors at work is needed to efficiently target preventive strategies. This study estimates the prognosis for recovery from long-term musculoskeletal pain in different body regions among healthcare workers with different levels of perceived physical exertion during healthcare work.
Prospective cohort study among 4,977 Danish female healthcare workers responding to a baseline and follow-up questionnaire in 2005 and 2006, respectively. We defined long-term pain, short-term pain and pain-free as > 30, 1–30 and 0 days with pain during the last year, and included in the analyses only those with long-term pain at baseline in the low back (N=1,089), neck/shoulder (N=1,400) and knees (N = 579), respectively. Using cumulative logistic regression analysis, the prognosis for recovering from long-term pain at baseline to short-term pain or pain-free at follow-up in the respective body regions when experiencing moderate or light (reference: strenuous) physical exertion during healthcare work was modeled.
Among those with long-term pain at baseline 34% (low back), 29% (neck/shoulders), and 29% (knees) recovered to short-term pain at follow-up and 7% (low back), 8% (neck/shoulders), and 17% (knees) recovered to being pain-free. After adjusting for potential confounders (age, BMI, tenure, smoking status, leisure physical activity and psychosocial work conditions), light perceived physical exertion during healthcare work was associated with improved prognosis for recovery from long-term pain in the low back (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.01 – 1.99) and neck/shoulders (OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.43 – 2.50), but not in the knees. Moderate physical exertion was not associated with improved prognosis for recovery from long-term pain for any of the body regions.
In the present study, healthcare workers with light perceived physical exertion during healthcare work had the best prognosis for recovery from long-term pain in the low back and neck/shoulders. This suggests that efforts to reduce perceived exertion during work may improve recovery from chronic pain.
Chronic pain; Musculoskeletal disorders; Neck pain; Back pain; Knee pain; Risk factors; Longitudinal; Eldercare
Low back pain (LBP) represents a major socioeconomic burden for the Western societies. Both life-style and work-related factors may cause low back pain. Prospective cohort studies assessing risk factors among individuals without prior history of low back pain are lacking. This aim of this study was to determine risk factors for developing low back pain (LBP) among health care workers.
Prospective cohort study with 2,235 newly educated female health care workers without prior history of LBP. Risk factors and incidence of LBP were assessed at one and two years after graduation.
Multinomial logistic regression analyses adjusted for age, smoking, and psychosocial factors showed that workers with high physical work load had higher risk for developing LBP than workers with low physical work load (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.1–2.8). In contrast, workers with high BMI were not at a higher risk for developing LBP than workers with a normal BMI.
Preventive initiatives for LBP among health care workers ought to focus on reducing high physical work loads rather than lowering excessive body weight.
Prospective cohort study; Low back pain; Physical work load; Health care work; Musculoskeletal disorders; Body mass index
The musculoskeletal disorders in working population represent one of the most worrying work-related health issues at the present time and although the very great majority of available data on the subject focus on musculoskeletal disorders defined by anatomical site, a growing number of studies indicate the low prevalence of disorders strictly confined to a specific anatomical site. The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence and characteristics of multisite musculoskeletal symptoms (multisite MS) in a large French working population.
This study was performed on surveillance data of the cross-sectional survey (2002–2005) conducted by a network of occupational physicians in the working population of the Loire Valley region (from 20 to 59 years old). Data concerning MS were collected in the waiting room of the occupational physicians by means of the self-administrated standardized NORDIC questionnaire.
The study population comprised 3,710 workers (2,162 men (58%) and 1,548 women (42%)) with a mean age of 38.4 years (standard deviation: 10.4 years). The prevalence of MS during the past 12 months was 83.8% with 95% confidence interval of [82.8-85.3] for men and 83.9% [82.0-85.7] for women. The prevalence of subacute MS (lasting at least 30 days) over the past 12 months was 32.8% [30.9-34.8] for men and 37.3% [34.9-39.7] for women. Two-thirds of workers reported MS in more than one anatomical site and about 20% reported MS lasting at least 30 days in more than one anatomical site. The anatomical sites most frequently associated with other MS were the upper back, hip, elbow and neck. The majority of these multisite MS were widespread, involving at least two of the three anatomical regions (upper limb, axial region and lower limb).
The frequency and extent of multisite MS reported by workers are considerable. Further research must be conducted in this field in order to provide a better understanding of the characteristics and determinants of these multisite MS.
Musculoskeletal disorders particularly in the back and lower extremities are common among marines. Here, movement-control tests are considered clinically useful for screening and follow-up evaluation. However, few studies have addressed the reliability of clinical tests, and no such published data exists for marines. The present aim was therefore to determine the inter- and intra-observer reliability of clinically convenient tests emphasizing movement control of the back and hip among marines. A secondary aim was to investigate the sensitivity and specificity of these clinical tests for discriminating musculoskeletal pain disorders in this group of military personnel.
This inter- and intra-observer reliability study used a test-retest approach with six standardized clinical tests focusing on movement control for back and hip. Thirty-three marines (age 28.7 yrs, SD 5.9) on active duty volunteered and were recruited. They followed an in-vivo observation test procedure that covered both low- and high-load (threshold) tasks relevant for marines on operational duty. Two independent observers simultaneously rated performance as “correct” or “incorrect” following a standardized assessment protocol. Re-testing followed 7–10 days thereafter. Reliability was analysed using kappa (κ) coefficients, while discriminative power of the best-fitting tests for back- and lower-extremity pain was assessed using a multiple-variable regression model.
Inter-observer reliability for the six tests was moderate to almost perfect with κ-coefficients ranging between 0.56-0.95. Three tests reached almost perfect inter-observer reliability with mean κ-coefficients > 0.81. However, intra-observer reliability was fair-to-moderate with mean κ-coefficients between 0.22-0.58. Three tests achieved moderate intra-observer reliability with κ-coefficients > 0.41. Combinations of one low- and one high-threshold test best discriminated prior back pain, but results were inconsistent for lower-extremity pain.
Our results suggest that clinical tests of movement control of back and hip are reliable for use in screening protocols using several observers with marines. However, test-retest reproducibility was less accurate, which should be considered in follow-up evaluations. The results also indicate that combinations of low- and high-threshold tests have discriminative validity for prior back pain, but were inconclusive for lower-extremity pain.
Military; Motor control; Reproducibility; Screening; Sensitivity; Specificity; Validity
In workplace health promotion, all potential resources needs to be taken into consideration, not only factors relating to the absence of injury and the physical health of the workers, but also psychological aspects. A dynamic balance between the resources of the individual employees and the demands of work is an important prerequisite. In the home care services, there is a noticeable trend towards increased psychosocial strain on employees at work. There are a high frequency of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and injuries, and a low prevalence of sustainable work ability. The aim of this research was to identify factors promoting work ability and self-efficacy in care aides and assistant nurses within home care services.
This study is based on cross-sectional data collected in a municipality in northern Sweden. Care aides (n = 58) and assistant nurses (n = 79) replied to a self-administered questionnaire (response rate 46%). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were performed to assess the influence of several independent variables on self-efficacy (model 1) and work ability (model 2) for care aides and assistant nurses separately.
Perceptions of personal safety, self-efficacy and musculoskeletal wellbeing contributed to work ability for assistant nurses (R2adj of 0.36, p < 0.001), while for care aides, the safety climate, seniority and age contributed to work ability (R2adj of 0.29, p = 0.001). Self-efficacy was associated with the safety climate and the physical demands of the job in both professions (R2adj of 0.24, p = 0.003 for care aides), and also by sex and age for the assistant nurses (R2adj of 0.31, p < 0.001).
The intermediate factors contributed differently to work ability in the two professions. Self-efficacy, personal safety and musculoskeletal wellbeing were important for the assistant nurses, while the work ability of the care aides was associated with the safety climate, but also with the non-changeable factors age and seniority. All these factors are important to acknowledge in practice and in further research. Proactive workplace interventions need to focus on potentially modifiable factors such as self-efficacy, safety climate, physical job demands and musculoskeletal wellbeing.
Non-specific chronic low back pain (NSCLBP) is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders around the world including Iran. One of the most widely used modalities in the field of physiotherapy is therapeutic ultrasound (US). Despite its common use, there is still inconclusive evidence to support its effectiveness in patients with NSCLBP. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of continuous US compared with placebo US additional to exercise therapy for patients with NSCLBP.
In this single blind placebo controlled study, 50 patients with NSCLBP were randomized into two treatment groups: 1) continuous US (1 MHz &1.5 W/cm2) plus exercise 2) placebo US plus exercise. Patients received treatments for 4 weeks, 10 treatment sessions, 3 times per week, every other day. Treatment effects were assessed in terms of primary outcome measures: 1) functional disability, measured by Functional Rating Index, and 2) global pain, measured by a visual analog scale. Secondary outcome measures were lumbar flexion and extension range of motion (ROM), endurance time and rate of decline in median frequency of electromyography spectrum during a Biering Sorensen test. All outcome variables were measured before, after treatment, and after one-month follow-up. An intention to treat analysis was performed. Main effects of Time and Group as well as their interaction effect on outcome measures were investigated using repeated measure ANOVA.
Analysis showed that both groups had improved regarding function (FRI) and global pain (VAS) (P < .001). Lumbar ROM as well as holding time during the Sorensen test and median frequency slope of all measured paravertebral muscles did not change significantly in either group (P > .05). Improvement in function and lumbar ROM as well as endurance time were significantly greater in the group receiving continuous US (P < .05).
The study showed that adding continuous US to a semi supervised exercise program significantly improved function, lumbar ROM and endurance time. Further studies including a third group of only exercise and no US can establish the possible effects of placebo US.
Low back pain; Ultrasound; Functional disability; Pain; Muscle endurance; Range of motion
Low bone mineral density (BMD) and falls are common problems encountered in the postmenopausal women. The purpose was to evaluate the association between postural balance and BMD in postmenopausal women and its relation to risk for falls.
In this cross-sectional study, 225 women in amenorrhea > 12 months and age ≥ 45 years were included and divided, according to BMD, in T-score values > -2.0 SD (n = 140) and ≤ -2 SD (n = 85). Those with neurological or musculoskeletal disorders, history of vestibulopathies, uncorrected visual deficit or drug use that could affect balance were excluded. History of falls (last 24 months), clinical and anthropometric characteristics were evaluated. Postural balance was assessed by stabilometry (force platform). For statistical analysis were used Wilcoxon's Test, Chi-Square Test and logistic regression method for fall risk (Odds Ratio-OR).
Patients with BMD > -2.0 SD were younger, with shorter time since menopause, and showed higher BMI as compared to those with low BMD (≤ -2 SD) (p < 0.05). It was observed that 57.8% of the participants reported fall episodes without significant difference distribution between the groups (p = 0.055). No differences were found from the comparison between the groups (p > 0.05) for stabilometric parameters. Risk for falls increased with age (OR 1.07; CI 95% 1.01-1.13), current smoking (OR 2.19; CI 95% 1.22-3.21) and corrected visual deficit (OR 9.06; CI 95% 1.14-4.09). In contrast, hormone therapy (HT) use was significantly associated with reduced risk for falls (OR 0.48; CI 95% 0.26-0.88).
In postmenopausal women, BMD did not show association with postural balance or risk for falls. Age, smoking and corrected visual deficit were clinical indicators of risk for falls whereas HT use showed to be a protective factor.
Menopause; Postural Balance; Bone Mineral Density; Falls
Although recent advances in knee osteoarthritis (OA) treatment and evaluation were achieved, to the best of our knowledge, few studies have evaluated the longitudinal effect of therapeutic modalities on the functional exercise capacity of patients with knee OA. The purpose was to investigate the effects of kinesiotherapy and electrotherapy on functional exercise capacity, evaluated using the six-minute walk test (6-MWT) in patients with bilateral knee OA. Secondary measurements included range of motion (ROM), severity of knee pain (VAS), and a measure of perceived health and physical function, evaluated using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) Osteoarthritis Index.
A total of 40 women with bilateral knee OA were assigned to three groups: kinesiotherapy (KIN, n = 16), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS, n = 12), or ultrasound (US, n = 10). The groups underwent 12 weeks of intervention twice per week. The participants were subjected to the 6-MWT, ROM, VAS and WOMAC index. These tests were performed before and after the intervention. The study was focused on outpatients and was carried out at Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil.
At follow-up, the KIN and US groups had significantly higher 6-MWT distances (19.8 ± 21.7 and 14.1 ± 22.5%, respectively) compared with their respective pre-intervention values. All treatments were effective for reducing pain and improving the WOMAC index.
We demonstrated that the 6-MWT is a tool that can be used to evaluate improvements in the functional exercise capacity of patients submitted to a clinical intervention.
Kinesiotherapy; Ultrasound; Electrotherapy; Knee osteoarthritis
The aim of this study was to investigate whether perceived exertion, perceived comfort and working technique is associated with the incidence of neck and upper extremity symptoms among professional computer users.
At baseline a self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 853 participants from 46 different work sites (382 men and 471 women) who, at baseline, had been free from neck and upper extremity symptoms during the preceding month. Work-related exposures, individual factors, and symptoms from the neck and upper extremities were assessed. Observations of working technique were performed by ergonomists using an ergonomic checklist. Incidence data were collected by means of 10 monthly questionnaires, asking for information on the occurrence of neck, shoulder and arm/hand symptoms. Perceived exertion was rated on a modified Borg RPE scale ranging from 0 (very, very light) to 14 (very, very strenuous). Perceived comfort was rated on a 9-point scale ranging from -4 (very, very poor) to +4 (very, very good) in relation to the chair, computer screen, keyboard, and computer mouse.
The median follow up time was 10.3 months. The incidence of symptoms from the neck, shoulders and arm/hands were 50, 24 and 34 cases per 100 person years, respectively.
Higher perceived exertion in the neck, shoulder or arm/hands was associated with an increased risk of developing symptoms in the corresponding body region. Moreover, a dose-response relationship between the level of exertion and the risk of developing symptoms was recorded for all three regions. There was an association between low comfort and an increased risk for neck symptoms, but not for shoulder and arm/hand symptoms, although a trend towards such an association (not statistically significant) could be seen. Working technique was, in this study, not associated with the risk of developing symptoms in any of the investigated body regions.
There was a strong association between high perceived exertion and the development of neck, shoulder, and arm/hand symptoms. Moreover, there was an association between poor perceived comfort and neck pain. Surveillance of computer users may include perceived exertion and comfort to target individuals at risk for neck and upper extremity symptoms.
Computer work; Perceived exertion; Perceived comfort; Working technique; neck and upper extremity disorders
Work disability is common among women with fibromyalgia (FM). The aim of the study was to investigate what health problems and work-related difficulties lead to hinders for continued work among women with FM.
A qualitative interview study. Twenty-seven gainfully employed women with FM participated in five focus group interviews. Their median age was 52 years, ranging from 33 to 62. The transcribed interviews were analyzed by content analysis.
Health problems and work-related demands were identified. Limited physical capacity, increased stress and an increased need of rest were the major health problems, while physical, psychosocial and work organizational demands were the main work-related problems. Personal factors and factors related to family influenced the strategies used to manage the imbalance between the health problems and work-related demands.
Limited physical capacity and an increased need of rest made it difficult for these women to manage the physical, psychosocial and organizational work demands. Adjustment of the work tasks and work environment were the main factors influencing whether the women with FM could work or not.
Pain; Disability; Fibromyalgia; Work; Qualitative research
To assess the annual consultation prevalence and new onset consultation rate for doctor-diagnosed shoulder pain conditions.
We identified all residents in the southernmost county in Sweden who received a shoulder pain diagnosis during 2006 (ICD-10 code M75). In subjects who did not consult due to such disorders during 2004 and 2005, we estimated the new onset consultation rate. The distribution of specific shoulder conditions and the length of the period of repeated consultation were calculated.
Annual consultation prevalence was 103/10 000 women and 98/10 000 men. New onset consultation rate was 80/10 000 women (peak in age 50–59 at 129/10 000) and 74/10 000 men (peak in age 60–69 at 116/10 000). About one fifth of both genders continued to consult more than three months after initial presentation, but only a few percent beyond two years. Rotator cuff - and impingement syndromes were the most frequent diagnoses.
The annual consultation prevalence for shoulder pain conditions (1%) was similar in women and men, and about two thirds of patients consulted a doctor only once. Impingement and rotator cuff syndromes were the most frequent diagnoses.
Few studies have investigated prognostic factors for patients with sciatica, especially for patients treated without surgery. The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with non-success after 1 and 2 years of follow-up and to test the prognostic value of surgical treatment for sciatica.
The study was a prospective multicentre observational study including 466 patients with sciatica and lumbar disc herniation. Potential prognostic factors were sociodemographic characteristics, back pain history, kinesiophobia, emotional distress, pain, comorbidity and clinical examination findings. Study participation did not alter treatment considerations for the patients in the clinics. Patients reported on the questionnaires if surgery of the disc herniation had been performed. Uni- and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate factors associated with non-success, defined as Maine–Seattle Back Questionnaire score of ≥5 (0–12) (primary outcome) and Sciatica Bothersomeness Index ≥7 (0–24) (secondary outcome).
Rates of non-success were at 1 and 2 years 44% and 39% for the main outcome and 47% and 42% for the secondary outcome. Approximately 1/3 of the patients were treated surgically. For the main outcome variable, in the final multivariate model non-success at 1 year was significantly associated with being male (OR 1.70 [95% CI; 1.06 − 2.73]), smoker (2.06 [1.31 − 3.25]), more back pain (1.0 [1.01 − 1.02]), more comorbid subjective health complaints (1.09 [1.03 − 1.15]), reduced tendon reflex (1.62 [1.03 − 2.56]), and not treated surgically (2.97 [1.75 − 5.04]). Further, factors significantly associated with non-success at 2 years were duration of back problems >; 1 year (1.92 [1.11 − 3.32]), duration of sciatica >; 3 months (2.30 [1.40 − 3.80]), more comorbid subjective health complaints (1.10 [1.03 − 1.17]) and kinesiophobia (1.04 [1.00 − 1.08]). For the secondary outcome variable, in the final multivariate model, more comorbid subjective health complaints, more back pain, muscular weakness at clinical examination, and not treated surgically, were independent prognostic factors for non-success at both 1 and 2 years.
The results indicate that the prognosis for sciatica referred to secondary care is not that good and only slightly better after surgery and that comorbidity should be assessed in patients with sciatica. This calls for a broader assessment of patients with sciatica than the traditional clinical assessment in which mainly the physical symptoms and signs are investigated.
Sciatica; Disc herniation; Prognostic factors; Non-success
Craniocervical arterial dissection is a major cause of ischaemic stroke in young adults. The pathogenesis is not fully understood but is thought to be related to a combination of an intrinsic weakness in the arterial wall and an external trigger. Intrinsic susceptibility is thought to be a generalised arteriopathy, vascular anomaly or genetic predisposition. Proposed extrinsic factors include recent viral infection and minor mechanical trauma to the neck, including neck manipulation, which has raised concerns amongst manual practitioners in particular as to the appropriate screening of patients and avoidance of more vigorous therapeutic techniques. The presenting features of dissection may mimic a musculoskeletal presentation, creating a diagnostic dilemma for primary care practitioners. Early recognition is critical so that appropriate management can be commenced.
The aims of this study are to prospectively investigate young patients ≤55 years admitted to hospital with radiologically diagnosed craniocervical arterial dissection compared to matched controls with stroke but not dissection, to identify risk factors and early presenting clinical features, so these may be more readily identified by primary care practitioners.
Patients ≤ 55 years presenting to hospital with craniocervical arterial dissection and controls will have their medical records reviewed and be interviewed and questioned about possible risk factors, preceding events to admission such as recent neck trauma, and presenting clinical features including any preceding transient ischaemic features. Clinical assessment will include a connective tissue screening examination to identify subclinical connective tissue disorders. Radiology and blood screening will be reviewed for typical features and inflammatory markers. Functional outcome will be reviewed to determine the burden of the stroke.
This study will provide descriptive and comparative data on intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors for craniocervical arterial dissection and outline the typical clinical presentation, including the nature of early presenting features which might assist practitioners to identify those patients for whom vigorous manual therapy of the neck is inappropriate and alert them to those for whom immediate urgent medical care should be sought.
Chronic low back pain (CLBP) experienced in middle-age may have important implications for vertebral bone health, although this issue has not been investigated as a primary aim previously. This study investigated the associations between CLBP and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)-derived vertebral bone mineral measures acquired from postero-anterior and lateral-projections, among community-dwelling, middle-aged adults.
Twenty-nine adults with CLBP (11 male, 18 female) and 42 adults with no history of LBP in the preceding year (17 male, 25 female) were evaluated. Self-reported demographic and clinical data were collected via questionnaires. Areal bone mineral density (aBMD) was measured in the lumbar spine by DXA. Apparent volumetric (ap.v) BMD in the lumbar spine was also calculated. Multiple linear regression models were used to examine associations between study group (CLBP and control) and vertebral DXA variables by gender, adjusting for height, mass and age.
There was no difference between groups by gender in anthropometrics or clinical characteristics. In the CLBP group, the mean (SD) duration of CLBP was 13.3 (10.4) years in males and 11.6 (9.9) years in females, with Oswestry Disability Index scores of 16.2 (8.7)% and 15.4 (9.1)%, respectively. Males with CLBP had significantly lower adjusted lateral-projection aBMD and lateral-projection ap.vBMD than controls at L3 with mean differences (standard error) of 0.09 (0.04) g/cm2 (p = 0.03) and 0.02 (0.01) g/cm3 (p = 0.04). These multivariate models accounted for 55% and 53% of the variance in lateral-projection L3 aBMD and lateral-projection L3 ap.vBMD.
CLBP in males is associated with some lumbar vertebral BMD measures, raising important questions about the mechanism and potential clinical impact of this association.
Proximal humeral fractures are common osteoporotic fractures. Most proximal humeral fractures are treated non-surgically, although surgical treatment has gained popularity. The purpose of this study was to determine changes in the surgical treatment of proximal humeral fractures in Finland between 1987 and 2009.
The study covered the entire adult (>19 y) population in Finland over the 23-year period from 1st of January 1987 to 31st of December 2009. We assessed the number and incidence of surgically treated proximal humeral fractures in each year of observation and recorded the type of surgery used. The cohort study was based on data from Finnish National Hospital Discharge Register.
During the 23-year study period, a total of 10,560 surgical operations for proximal humeral fractures were performed in Finland. The overall incidence of these operations nearly quadrupled between 1987 and 2009. After the year 2002, the number of patients treated with plating increased.
An increase in the incidence of the surgical treatment of proximal humeral fractures was seen in Finland in 1987–2009. Fracture plating became increasingly popular since 2002. As optimal indications for each surgical treatment modality in the treatment of proximal humeral fractures are not known, critical evaluation of each individual treatment method is needed.
Patients with whiplash-associated disorders (WAD) have a generally favourable prognosis, yet some develop longstanding pain and disability. Predicting who will recover from WAD shortly after a traffic collision is very challenging for health care providers such as physical therapists. Therefore, we aimed to develop a prediction model for the recovery of WAD in a cohort of patients who consulted physical therapists within six weeks after the injury.
Our cohort included 680 adult patients with WAD who were injured in Saskatchewan, Canada, between 1997 and 1999. All patients had consulted a physical therapist as a result of the injury. Baseline prognostic factors were collected from an injury questionnaire administered by Saskatchewan Government Insurance. The outcome, global self-perceived recovery, was assessed by telephone interviews six weeks, three and six months later. Twenty-five possible baseline prognostic factors were considered in the analyses. A prediction model was built using Cox regression. The predictive ability of the model was estimated with concordance statistics (c-index). Internal validity was checked using bootstrapping.
Our final prediction model included: age, number of days to reporting the collision, neck pain intensity, low back pain intensity, pain other than neck and back pain, headache before collision and recovery expectations. The model had an acceptable level of predictive ability with a c-index of 0.68 (95% CI: 0.65, 0.71). Internal validation showed that our model was robust and had a good fit.
We developed a model predicting recovery from WAD, in a cohort of patients who consulted physical therapists. Our model has adequate predictive ability. However, to be fully incorporated in clinical practice the model needs to be validated in other populations and tested in clinical settings.
Prediction; Prognosis; Whiplash-associated disorders; Neck pain; Physical therapy; Cohort; Recovery; Regression; Discrimination
The formation of contractile myofibrils requires the stepwise onset of expression of muscle specific proteins. It is likely that elucidation of the expression patterns of muscle-specific sarcomeric proteins is important to understand muscle disorders originating from defects in contractile sarcomeric proteins.
We investigated the expression profile of a panel of sarcomeric components with a focus on proteins associated with a group of congenital disorders. The analyses were performed in cultured human skeletal muscle cells during myoblast proliferation and myotube development.
Our culture technique resulted in the development of striated myotubes and the expression of adult isoforms of the sarcomeric proteins, such as fast TnI, fast TnT, adult fast and slow MyHC isoforms and predominantly skeletal muscle rather than cardiac actin. Many proteins involved in muscle diseases, such as beta tropomyosin, slow TnI, slow MyBPC and cardiac TnI were readily detected in the initial stages of muscle cell differentiation, suggesting the possibility of an early role for these proteins as constituent of the developing contractile apparatus during myofibrillogenesis. This suggests that in disease conditions the mechanisms of pathogenesis for each of the mutated sarcomeric proteins might be reflected by altered expression patterns, and disturbed assembly of cytoskeletal, myofibrillar structures and muscle development.
In conclusion, we here confirm that cell cultures of human skeletal muscle are an appropriate tool to study developmental stages of myofibrillogenesis. The expression of several disease-associated proteins indicates that they might be a useful model system for studying the pathogenesis of muscle diseases caused by defects in specific sarcomeric constituents.
Myogenesis; Sarcomere; Myoblast; Skeletal muscle
The Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) is a widely used patient reported outcome in osteoarthritis. An important, but frequently overlooked, aspect of validating health outcome measures is to establish if items exhibit differential item functioning (DIF). That is, if respondents have the same underlying level of an attribute, does the item give the same score in different subgroups or is it biased towards one subgroup or another. The aim of the study was to explore DIF in the Likert format WOMAC for the first time in a UK osteoarthritis population with respect to demographic, social, clinical and psychological factors.
The sample comprised a community sample of 763 people with osteoarthritis who participated in the Somerset and Avon Survey of Health. The WOMAC was explored for DIF by gender, age, social deprivation, social class, employment status, distress, body mass index and clinical factors. Ordinal regression models were used to identify DIF items.
After adjusting for age, two items were identified for the physical functioning subscale as having DIF with age identified as the DIF factor for 2 items, gender for 1 item and body mass index for 1 item. For the WOMAC pain subscale, for people with hip osteoarthritis one item was identified with age-related DIF. The impact of the DIF items rarely had a significant effect on the conclusions of group comparisons.
Overall, the WOMAC performed well with only a small number of DIF items identified. However, as DIF items were identified in for the WOMAC physical functioning subscale it would be advisable to analyse data taking into account the possible impact of the DIF items when weight, gender or especially age effects, are the focus of interest in UK-based osteoarthritis studies. Similarly for the WOMAC pain subscale in people with hip osteoarthritis it would be worthwhile to analyse data taking into account the possible impact of the DIF item when age comparisons are of primary interest.
Osteoarthritis; WOMAC; Psychometrics; Item bias; Differential item functioning; Measurement equivalence
Minimal interventional procedures are frequently applied in patients with mechanical low back pain which is defined as pain presumably resulting from single sources: facet, disc, sacroiliac joint or a combination of these. Usually, these minimal interventional procedures are an integral part of a multidisciplinary pain programme. A recent systematic review issued by the Dutch Health Insurance Council showed that the effectiveness of these procedures for the total group of patients with chronic low back pain is yet unclear and cost-effectiveness unknown. The aim of the study is to evaluate whether a multidisciplinary pain programme with minimal interventional procedures is cost-effective compared to the multidisciplinary pain programme alone for patients with chronic mechanical low back pain who did not respond to conservative primary care and were referred to a pain clinic.
All patients with chronic low back pain who are referred to one of the 13 participating pain clinics will be asked to participate in an observational study. Patients with a suspected diagnosis of facet, disc or sacroiliac joint problems will receive a diagnostic block to confirm this diagnosis. If confirmed, they will be asked to participate in a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT). For each single source a separate RCT will be conducted. Patients with a combination of facet, disc or sacroiliac joint problems will be invited for participation in a RCT as well. An economic evaluation from a societal perspective will be performed alongside these four RCTs. Patients will complete questionnaires at baseline, 3 and 6 weeks, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after start of the treatment. Costs will be collected using self-completed cost questionnaires.
No trials are yet available which have evaluated the cost-effectiveness of minimal interventional procedures in patients with chronic mechanical low back pain, which emphasizes the importance of this study.
Trial registration number
National Trial Register: NTR3531
Chronic mechanical low back pain; Minimal interventional procedures; Multidisciplinary pain programme; Economic evaluation