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: 1.74). 04/2009; 53(4):352 - 360. DOI: 10.1002/ajim.20790
Source: PubMed


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.

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    • "Therefore, the respective muscle group tension is considered to be the main cause of pain. A high occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints among clothing industry employees has been already described by many authors [3-8]. It is known that high work pace, lack of control over work, and insufficient co-workers’ support can lead to muscles fatigue and chronic pain in different body parts [9,10]. "
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    • "Textile work is monotonous and potentially harmful in that it requires prolonged non-neutral joint postures and highly repetitive movements. Despite the potential for increased neck and shoulder injury, relatively few studies have focused on this profession [1] [2]. Overuse injury may be particularly prevalent as workers are generally allocated into two or three shifts in large factories; some small enterprises may employ only two 12-hour shifts, working 5–7 days a week. "
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