Physical, Psychosocial, and Individual Risk Factors for Neck/Shoulder Pain With Pressure Tenderness in the Muscles Among Workers Performing Monotonous, Repetitive Work

Department of Occupational Medicine, Herning Hospital, Herning, Denmark.
Spine (Impact Factor: 2.3). 04/2002; 27(6):660-7. DOI: 10.1097/00007632-200203150-00017
Source: PubMed


Cross-sectional study.
To evaluate the effect of individual characteristics and physical and psychosocial workplace factors on neck/shoulder pain with pressure tenderness in the muscles.
Controversy prevails about the importance of workplace factors versus individual factors in the etiology of pain in the neck and/or shoulders.
Study participants were 3123 workers from 19 plants. Physical risk factors were evaluated via video observations, and psychosocial risk factors were assessed with the job content questionnaire. Other procedures included symptom survey, clinical examination, and assessment of health-related quality of life (SF-36). The main outcome variable, neck/shoulder pain with pressure tenderness, was defined on the basis of subjective pain score and pressure tenderness in muscles of the neck/shoulder region.
The prevalence of neck/shoulder pain with pressure tenderness was 7.0% among participants performing repetitive work and 3.8% among the referents. We found an association with high repetitiveness (prevalence ratio 1.8, 95% confidence interval 1.1-2.9), high force (2.0, 1.2-3.3), and high repetitiveness and high force (2.3, 1.4-4.0). The strongest work-related psychosocial risk was high job demands (1.8, 1.2-2.7). Increased risk was also associated with neck/shoulder injury (2.6, 1.6-4.1), female gender (1.8, 1.2-2.8), and low pressure pain threshold (1.6, 1.1-2.3). Neck/shoulder pain was strongly associated with reduced health-related quality of life.
Work-related physical and psychosocial factors, as well as several individual risk factors, are important in the understanding of neck/shoulder pain. The findings suggest that neck/shoulder pain has a multifactorial nature. Reduced health-related quality of life is associated with subjective pain and clinical signs from the neck and shoulders. The physical workplace factors were highly intercorrelated, and so the effect of individual physical exposures could only be disentangled to a minor degree.

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    • "Musculoskeletal disorders can result in lengthy periods off work and increased utilisation of health-care services [1,2]. Musculoskeletal injuries such as lower back pain (LBP) and repetitive strain injuries (RSI) have been reported as having a high prevalence amongst clothing and textile manufacturing workers [3-5]. This may be attributed to occupational exposure to repetitive work tasks, prolonged sedentary postures, heavy lifting, intensive-physical labour and long working hours. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The prevalence of health risk behaviours is growing amongst South African employees. Health risk behaviours have been identified as a major contributor to reduced health related quality of life (HRQoL) and the increased prevalence of non-communicable diseases. Worksite wellness programmes promise to promote behaviour changes amongst employees and to improve their HRQoL. The aim of this study was to evaluate the short-term effects of an employee wellness programme on HRQoL, health behaviour change, body mass index (BMI) and absenteeism amongst clothing and textile manufacturing employees. Methods: The study used a randomised control trial design. The sample consisted of 80 subjects from three clothing manufacturing companies in Cape Town, South Africa. The experimental group was subjected to a wellness programme based on the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) as well as weekly supervised exercise classes over six weeks. The control group received a once-off health promotion talk and various educational pamphlets, with no further intervention. Measurements were recorded at baseline and at six weeks post-intervention. Outcome measures included the EQ-5D, Stanford Exercise Behaviours Scale, body mass index and absenteeism.Data was analysed with the Statistica-8 software program. Non-parametric tests were used to evaluate the differences in the medians between the two groups and to determine the level of significance. The Sign test was used to determine the within group changes. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to determine the difference between the two groups. Results: At six weeks post intervention the experimental group (39 subjects) demonstrated improvement in almost every parameter. In contrast, apart from an overall decrease in time off work and a reduction in BMI for all study participants, there was no significant change noted in the behaviour of the control group (41 subjects). Seventy percent of the experimental group had improved HRQoL EQ-5D VAS scores post intervention, indicating improved perceived HRQoL. In comparison, only 58% of the control group had improved HRQoL EQ-5D VAS scores post intervention. There was no significant difference between the two groups at baseline or at six weeks post intervention. Conclusion: An employee wellness programme based on the principles of CBT combined with weekly aerobic exercise class was beneficial in improving the perceived HRQoL and changing health-related behaviours of clothing manufacturing employees. However, it cannot be concluded that the EWP was more effective than the once off health promotion talk as no significant changes were noted between the two groups at 6-weeks post intervention.This trial has been registered with (trial registration number NCT01625039).
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · BMC Public Health
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    • "Several studies and reviews have found significant relationships between high work demands, low control, low social support, and MSDs in the back [39-43]. Physically demanding work, such as an intensified work load, monotonous and repetitive work tasks, combined with psychosocial factors, such as time pressure, overtime, low control, and low job satisfaction have been found as possibly predisposing for upper extremity disorders among workers in different occupations [40,41,44]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Dairy farming is physically demanding and associated with a high frequency of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). This study investigated and compared work-related MSD, ergonomic work factors and physical exertion in farmers and employed farm workers on dairy farms in Sweden. Methods The study comprised 66 dairy farmers, and 37 employed dairy farm workers. A modified version of the general Standardised Nordic Questionnaire was used for analyses of perceived MSD in nine different parts of the body. Perceived physical discomfort was assessed using questions concerning ergonomic work factors. A rating scale was used for analyses of perceived physical exertion. Information about participant demographics was also collected. The response rate amounted to 70%. Results The most frequently reported MSD in farmers and farm workers were located in the lower back (50% and 43%, respectively) and the shoulders (47% and 43%, respectively). MSD were also frequently reported in the neck (33%) among farmers, and in the hands/wrist (41%) among farm workers. MSD in the elbows (23%) and feet (21%) were significantly more frequently reported by farmers than farm workers (5%). Female farmers and farm workers both reported significantly higher frequencies of MSD in the neck (48% and 56%, respectively) and hands/wrists (44% and 61%, respectively) than their male colleagues (24% and 5%; 10% and 21%, respectively). In addition, female farm workers had significantly higher reported frequencies of MSD in the upper and lower back (39% and 61%, respectively) than their male counterparts (5% and 26%, respectively). Milking was perceived as a weakly to moderately physically demanding work task. Repetitive and monotonous work in dairy houses was the ergonomic work factor most frequently reported as causing physically discomfort among farmers (36%) and farm workers (32%), followed by lifting heavy objects (17% and 27%, respectively). Female workers had significantly more reported discomfort from repetitive and monotonous work than their male counterparts (50% and 16%, respectively). Conclusion Despite the technical developments on modern dairy farms, there is still a high prevalence of MSD and discomfort from ergonomic work factors, particularly among female workers.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology
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    • "Discussions concerning the high prevalence of pain revealed in many epidemiological studies [16-18] led us to evaluate simple pain questions. In intervention studies, or when evaluating treatments in clinical settings, more detailed and complex pain assessments are necessary [19], but these are beyond the scope of the present study. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The high prevalence of pain reported in many epidemiological studies, and the degree to which this prevalence reflects severe pain is under discussion in the literature. The aim of the present study was to evaluate use of the simple neck pain questions commonly included in large epidemiological survey studies with respect to aspects of health. We investigated if and how an increase in number of days with pain is associated with reduction in health outcomes. Methods A cohort of university students (baseline age 19–25 years) were recruited in 2002 and followed annually for 4 years. The baseline response rate was 69% which resulted in 1200 respondents (627 women, 573 men). Participants were asked about present and past pain and perceptions of their general health, sleep disturbance, stress and energy levels, and general performance. The data were analyzed using a mixed model for repeated measurements and a random intercept logistic model. Results When reporting present pain, participants also reported lower prevalence of very good health, higher stress and sleep disturbance scores and lower energy score. Among those with current neck pain, additional questions characterizing the pain such as duration (categorized), additional pain sites and decreased general performance were associated with lower probability of very good health and higher amounts of sleep disturbance. Knowing about the presence or not of pain explains more of the variation in health between individuals, than within individuals. Conclusion This study of young university students has demonstrated that simple neck pain survey questions capture features of pain that affect aspects of health such as perceived general health, sleep disturbance, mood in terms of stress and energy. Simple pain questions are more useful for group descriptions than for describing or following pain in an individual.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · BMC Research Notes
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