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Do work-related physical factors predict neck and upper limb symptoms in office workers?

Author: Heuvel, S.G. van den · Beek, A. J. van der · Blatter, B.M. · Bongers, P.M.
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:International Ergonomics Association (IEA) congres, 10 July - 14 July 2006
Identifier: 575324
Keywords: Workplace · Cohort study · GEE-model · Computer use · Office workers · Video observations


The objective of this study was to examine the influence of physical exposure at work on neck and upper limb symptoms in office workers. Data were used from a prospective cohort study with a follow-up period of 3 years. Independent variables were observed and self-reported physical exposure at work. Outcome measures were neck/shoulder symptoms and elbow/wrist/hand symptoms. Data were analyzed with the generalized estimating equation (GEE) method, with adjustment for age, gender, psychosocial work characteristics and the outcome at baseline. Neck rotation was associated with neck/shoulder symptoms in the analyses with observed data as well as those with self-reported data. Neck extension was also statistically significantly associated with neck/shoulder symptoms, but only self-reported data were available. Neck flexion, self-reported wrist pronation, self-reported arm elevation, and self-reported duration of computer work, were not associated with symptoms. An indication was found of an adverse effect on neck/shoulder symptoms of long working days and on elbow/wrist/hand symptoms of self-reported wrist flexion and full-time work or longer compared to part-time work. It was concluded that only a limited number of work-re lated physical factors were related to neck and upper limb symptoms in office workers