Follow‐up of neck and shoulder pain among sewing machine operators: The Los Angeles garment study

Department of Family Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California
American Journal of Industrial Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.59). 12/2009; 53(4):352 - 360. DOI: 10.1002/ajim.20790
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Background
The aim of the present study is to explore factors affecting or modifying self-reported neck/shoulder pain in sewing machine operators.Methods
We investigated self-report neck/shoulder pain in 247 workers who participated in a 4-month prospective intervention study for musculoskeletal disorders. All participants were immigrants. We examine the influence of individual and work-related factors on changes in neck/shoulder pain during follow-up employing linear mixed models with time-spline functions.ResultsWe observed a dramatic decline (72%) in self-reported pain intensity in the first month of follow-up, followed by a small increase from the first to fourth month (4% per month). Workers who perceived and reported their physical workload as high or worked overtime experienced less overall pain reduction. Higher baseline pain intensity, being of Hispanic ethnicity (vs. Asian), and taking cumulative daily rest time during work of 35 min or more allowing for muscles to rest were associated with a larger pain reduction in the first month, but not thereafter.Conclusion
Our findings indicate that some work-related factors may be of clinical relevance for reducing neck/shoulder pain. Having lower physical workloads and less overtime work should be considered when treating patients or planning workplace interventions for managing work-related musculoskeletal disorders in this underserved immigrant population. Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:352–360, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

1 Bookmark
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Work-related upper limb disorder (WRULD), repetitive strain injury (RSI), occupational overuse syndrome (OOS) and work-related complaints of the arm, neck or shoulder (CANS) are the most frequently used umbrella terms for disorders that develop as a result of repetitive movements, awkward postures and impact of external forces such as those associated with operating vibrating tools. Work-related CANS, which is the term we use in this review, severely hampers the working population. To assess the effects of conservative interventions for work-related complaints of the arm, neck or shoulder (CANS) in adults on pain, function and work-related outcomes. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (The Cochrane Library, 31 May 2013), MEDLINE (1950 to 31 May 2013), EMBASE (1988 to 31 May 2013), CINAHL (1982 to 31 May 2013), AMED (1985 to 31 May 2013), PsycINFO (1806 to 31 May 2013), the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro; inception to 31 May 2013) and the Occupational Therapy Systematic Evaluation of Evidence Database (OTseeker; inception to 31 May 2013). We did not apply any language restrictions. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-randomised controlled trials evaluating conservative interventions for work-related complaints of the arm, neck or shoulder in adults. We excluded trials undertaken to test injections and surgery. We included studies that evaluated effects on pain, functional status or work ability. Two review authors independently selected trials for inclusion, extracted data and assessed risk of bias of the included studies. When studies were sufficiently similar, we performed statistical pooling of reported results. We included 44 studies (62 publications) with 6,580 participants that evaluated 25 different interventions. We categorised these interventions according to their working mechanisms into exercises, ergonomics, behavioural and other interventions.Overall, we judged 35 studies as having a high risk of bias mainly because of an unknown randomisation procedure, lack of a concealed allocation procedure, unblinded trial participants or lack of an intention-to-treat analysis.We found very low-quality evidence showing that exercises did not improve pain in comparison with no treatment (five studies, standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.52, 95% confidence interval (CI) -1.08 to 0.03), or minor intervention controls (three studies, SMD -0.25, 95% CI -0.87 to 0.37) or when provided as additional treatment (two studies, inconsistent results) at short-term follow-up or at long-term follow-up. Results were similar for recovery, disability and sick leave. Specific exercises led to increased pain at short-term follow-up when compared with general exercises (four studies, SMD 0.45, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.75)We found very low-quality evidence indicating that ergonomic interventions did not lead to a decrease in pain when compared with no intervention at short-term follow-up (three studies, SMD -0.07, 95% CI -0.36 to 0.22) but did decrease pain at long-term follow-up (four studies, SMD -0.76, 95% CI -1.35 to -0.16). There was no effect on disability but sick leave decreased in two studies (risk ratio (RR) 0.48, 95% CI 0.32 to 0.76). None of the ergonomic interventions was more beneficial for any outcome measures when compared with another treatment or with no treatment or with placebo.Behavioural interventions had inconsistent effects on pain and disability, with some subgroups showing benefit and others showing no significant improvement when compared with no treatment, minor intervention controls or other behavioural interventions.In the eight studies that evaluated various other interventions, there was no evidence of a clear beneficial effect of any of the interventions provided. We found very low-quality evidence indicating that pain, recovery, disability and sick leave are similar after exercises when compared with no treatment, with minor intervention controls or with exercises provided as additional treatment to people with work-related complaints of the arm, neck or shoulder. Low-quality evidence also showed that ergonomic interventions did not decrease pain at short-term follow-up but did decrease pain at long-term follow-up. There was no evidence of an effect on other outcomes. For behavioural and other interventions, there was no evidence of a consistent effect on any of the outcomes.Studies are needed that include more participants, that are clear about the diagnosis of work-relatedness and that report findings according to current guidelines.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 12/2013; 12:CD008742. · 5.94 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This cross-sectional study aimed to identify the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms and ergonomic risks in female sewing machine operators at a textile company. The study sample comprised all female sewing machine operators in the company. The sample included 283 sewing machine operators. Data were collected through the use of the adapted Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire and by direct observations via the rapid upper limb assessment (RULA) to determine ergonomic risks. RULA is a validated tool for assessment of ergonomic risks. The mean age of the women was 30.2 (SD: 8.4) and the mean number of years of employment was 13.4 (SD: 5.5). The highest prevalence rates for the women’s musculoskeletal symptoms were in the trunk (62.5%), neck (50.5%), and shoulder (50.2%). Of the women, 65% had experienced musculoskeletal pain or discomfort over the last 6 months. Pain intensity of these symptoms was assessed with a visual analogue scale. The average pain intensity of the women was found to be 3.5 (SD: 2.8). Results of the RULA scores were found to be quite high. There were no employees who received RULA scores of 1–2, which indicates acceptable postures (all scores >5). The final RULA scores of 6.9 indicate that the participants’ postures at their work stations need to be investigated immediately.
    International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 11/2011; 41(6):585-591. · 1.21 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article provides a critical review of occupational health disparities among Asian Americans. It provides an overview to Asian American workers followed by a brief review of general health disparities which serves as a context for understanding occupational health disparities among this minority group. Next, physical and environmental hazards are described followed by a discussion of the relationship between work stress and health for Asian Americans. The final section of the article consists of policy and research recommendations for increasing our understanding of occupational health disparities among Asian Americans. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
    Asian American Journal of Psychology. 01/2014; 5(1):44.


Available from
Jun 4, 2014