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Does musculoskeletal discomfort at work predict future musculoskeletal pain?

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Author: Hamberg - Reenen, H.H. van · Beek, A.J. van der · Blatter, B. · Grinten, M.P. van der · Mechelen, W. van · Bongers, P.M.
Type:article
Date:2008
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:Ergonomics, 5, 51, 637-648
Identifier: 240790
doi: doi:10.1080/00140130701743433
Keywords: Workplace · Veilig en Gezond Werken · Discomfort · Low-back pain · Neck pain · Prediction · Shoulder pain · Job analysis · Musculoskeletal system · Occupational risks · Personnel · Cumulative discomfort · Peak discomfort · Ergonomics · adult · article · cohort analysis · female · human · low back pain · major clinical study · male · musculoskeletal pain · neck pain · occupational exposure · occupational hazard · occupational health · pain assessment · risk factor · shoulder pain · work environment · working time · workload · Health Status Indicators · Health Surveys · Human Engineering · Humans · Low Back Pain · Musculoskeletal Diseases · Neck Pain · Occupational Exposure · Posture · Prospective Studies · Questionnaires · Risk · Risk Factors · Shoulder Pain · Workplace · Healthy for Life · Healthy Living

Abstract

The objective of this prospective cohort study was to evaluate if peak or cumulative musculoskeletal discomfort may predict future low-back, neck or shoulder pain among symptom-free workers. At baseline, discomfort per body region was rated on a 10-point scale six times during a working day. Questionnaires on pain were sent out three times during follow-up. Peak discomfort was defined as a discomfort level of 2 at least once during a day; cumulative discomfort was defined as the sum of discomfort during the day. Reference workers reported a rating of zero at each measurement. Peak discomfort was a predictor of low-back pain (relative risk (RR) 1.79), neck pain (RR 2.56), right or left shoulder pain (RR 1.91 and 1.90). Cumulative discomfort predicted neck pain (RR 2.35), right or left shoulder pain (RR 2.45 and 1.64). These results suggest that both peak and cumulative discomfort could predict future musculoskeletal pain.