Work-related chronic neck impairment. Neck motion analysis in female traverse crane operators.
ABSTRACT Twenty-one female steel industry traverse crane operators with long-term sick-leave (3 (1-8) years) due to chronic neck disability underwent careful analysis of case history, physical status and electrogoniometric three-dimensional recordings of active neck motion. Results were compared with those from working female crane operators having identical work posture and tasks and, further, with a group of working female clerks. The sick-listed crane operators had previous frequent contacts with the primary health care because of complaints from the neck and back. In comparison with the reference groups, the sick-listed crane operators showed tenderness of the trapezius and levator scapulae muscles and a short neck stature in combination with impaired active neck motion range with reduced motion speed. The motion pattern was however unchanged. The findings are consistent with the clinical picture of chronic neck myalgia that persisted despite long-term absence from the previous exposure to high static work load upon the neck-shoulders.