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The cost of shoulder pain at work : variation in work tasks and good job opportunities are essential for prevention

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Author: Bongers, P.M.
Institution: TNO Arbeid
Source:British Medical Journal, 7278, 322, 64-65
Identifier: 143395
doi: doi:10.1136/bmj.322.7278.64
Keywords: Workplace · Geslacht · Leeftijd · Fysieke arbeidsbelasting · Arbeidsvoldoening · Arbeidssatisfactie · Psychische arbeidsbelasting · Risicoanalyse · Storingsanalyse · Checklists · Bewegingsstoornissen · Preventie · Baten · Kosten · Sociale kosten · Risicoanalyse en preventie · Cost benefit analysis · Editorial · Job performance · Repetitive strain injury · Work · Cost of Illness · Cumulative Trauma Disorders · Humans · Occupational Diseases · Prognosis · Shoulder Pain · Vibration


Shoulder pain is widespread and imposes a considerable burden on the affected person and society. Women seem to have more shoulder problems than men, and the frequency of shoulder pain increases with age. Smoking and previous trauma are associated with shoulder pain. A recent systematic review of the literature by van der Windt et al looked at occupational risks for shoulder pain; risks were divided into physical factors (such as carrying or lifting heavy loads, working in awkward postures, engaging in repetitive movements, and being exposed to vibrations) and psychosocial factors related to work. Nearly all studies that assessed work related psychosocial risk factors reported at least one positive association with shoulder pain, but the results were not consistent across studies. People with shoulder pain should remain active and return to normal activity or temporarily modified work as soon as possible. Attention should also be paid to preventing shoulder pain at work. Work tasks should be varied and employees should be offered opportunities for developing their jobs and influencing their work patterns.