Shoulder and neck complaints in customer relations: individual risk factors and perceived exposures at work.
ABSTRACT Perceived psychosocial and biomechanical exposures, individual factors and pain in the shoulder and neck were recorded in two groups of female service workers (healthcare and shopping centre workers). The jobs investigated were characterized by 'much' direct human relations, 'little' sitting and 'much' standing, and were light work by physiological or biomechanical criteria but potentially psychosocially demanding. A screening survey (n = 400 females) was the basis for the selected sample (n = 66 females), which was the object of the main investigation of this study. Reliability of the questionnaires was tested in a separate group of female healthcare workers (n = 29). Heart rate recordings through the work day estimated workload. There was a high prevalence of shoulder and neck pain (> 50%) for both work groups. In the two populations it proved difficult to explain shoulder and neck pain by reported physical and psychosocial exposures or individual factors, except by the variable 'perceived general tension', which clearly differentiated workers with and without pain. The findings in this study indicated, first, that perceived general tension might be an independent risk factor for muscle pain and, second, that this might be related to personality factors. However, this putative relationship must be verified in a longitudinal study. As no variable describing exposures in the working environment was associated with shoulder and neck pain, the question is posed whether such complaints can be considered work-related. Alternatively, the variables used to describe mechanical and psychosocial exposures in this study may have low specificity in characterizing work-related risk factors for service workers with customer relations.
Environment & Health Downloaded from www.sjweh.fi on January. 01/2012; 13.
Article: Quantitative sensory measures distinguish office workers with varying levels of neck pain and disability.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This study was undertaken to investigate any relationship between sensory features and neck pain in female office workers using quantitative sensory measures to better understand neck pain in this group. Office workers who used a visual display monitor for more than four hours per day with varying levels of neck pain and disability were eligible for inclusion. There were 85 participants categorized according to their scores on the neck disability index (NDI): 33 with no pain (NDI<8); 38 with mild levels of pain and disability (NDI 9-29); 14 with moderate levels of pain (NDI30). A fourth group of women without neck pain (n=22) who did not work formed the control group. Measures included: thermal pain thresholds over the posterior cervical spine; pressure pain thresholds over the posterior neck, trapezius, levator scapulae and tibialis anterior muscles, and the median nerve trunk; sensitivity to vibrotactile stimulus over areas of the hand innervated by the median, ulnar and radial nerves; sympathetic vasoconstrictor response. All tests were conducted bilaterally. ANCOVA models were used to determine group differences between the means for each sensory measure. Office workers with greater self-reported neck pain demonstrated hyperalgesia to thermal stimuli over the neck, hyperalgesia to pressure stimulation over several sites tested; hypoaesthesia to vibration stimulation but no changes in the sympathetic vasoconstrictor response. There is evidence of multiple peripheral nerve dysfunction with widespread sensitivity most likely due to altered central nociceptive processing initiated and sustained by nociceptive input from the periphery.Pain 07/2008; 137(2):257-65. · 5.78 Impact Factor
Article: Low-amplitude trapezius activity in work and leisure and the relation to shoulder and neck pain.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to obtain evidence supporting or negating the hypothesis that muscle pain is associated with sustained activation of low-threshold motor units. Long-term surface electromyographic (EMG) recordings of trapezius activity pattern were related to subjectively reported shoulder and neck pain in work and leisure. Recordings from 118 female subjects (73 recorded both during work and leisure) were analyzed. Computer operators, secretaries, and health care and retail workers were represented in the material. The recordings were calibrated by the root-mean-square-detected response at maximal voluntary contraction (%maximum EMG). The analysis was performed by quantifying duration and amplitude of surface EMG activity exceeding 2% maximum EMG ("EMG bursts"). Three response categories were defined by duration of the burst periods during work: low- (<50%), intermediate- (50-70%), and high-response (>70%) groups. Shoulder and neck pain was assessed by hourly visual analog score throughout work and leisure and by pain score for the last 6 mo. Shoulder and neck pain was higher at work than leisure for subjects with long-term pain in both the high- and the low-response groups. Persistent pain, defined by the 6-mo score, was more prevalent in the high- than the low- and intermediate-response groups (73 vs. 37%); relative risk was 2.0. Trapezius activity was reduced from work to leisure for the high- but not the low-response group. The activity pattern is consistent with low-threshold motor unit overexertion for the high- but not the low-response group. We speculate that different mechanisms of muscle pain causation, dependent and independent of motor activity pattern, coexist.Journal of Applied Physiology 04/2006; 100(4):1142-9. · 3.75 Impact Factor