Job-Specific Factors and Prevalence of Multiple and Disabling Musculoskeletal Pain Among Office Workers, Nurses, and Caregivers in Estonia

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Abstract

The aims of this study were to describe job-specific factors and prevalence of musculoskeletal pains (MSPs) by the occupation and body regions in the past 12 months and past month, to analyse multisite and disabling pain and sick leave among office workers (OW), nurses and caregivers (CG); and to find relationships between the observed indicators. The study groups were selected by random sample method. Questionnaire responses on demographic parameters, job-specific factors, and MSPs by body parts in the past 12 months (MSP-12) and past month (MSP-1) were analysed. A questionnaire was sent to 1291 participants. The response rate was 54%. Most of the participants were women, with mean age 41.2 (±11.5) years, working on average 42.8 (±6.7) hours per week and had service length more than five years. Repetitive movements of wrist/hands and working under time pressure were more often reported risk factors by the nurses. Lifting weights 25 kg and more, climbing up and down, kneeling more than one hour a day and piecework finished in the work shift were the most often reported job-related risk factors for the CGs. Use of a keyboard was the same frequent work-related risk factor for the OWs. The most prevalent MSP-12 was low back pain for CGs (66.3%) and nurses (56.1%) and neck pain for OWs (51.5%). The most often reported MSP-1 was shoulder pain for nurses and OWs (84.4% and 65.7%, correspondingly), and elbow pain for CGs (74.9%). In the the entire sampled group, low back pain (53.9%) in the past 12 months and shoulder pain (70.9%) in the past month were the most often reported pain regions. A higher prevalence of multiple and disabling MSP and sickness absence were reported by CGs, compared to other occupation groups (p < 0.05). Correlation analysis showed positive relationships between job-related risk factors, like repetitive movements, physical load, and time demands, and MSPs and sick leave, especially among CGs (p < 0.05). Job-specific factors need more attention to prevent multiple and disabling pain and sick leave among office and hospital workers.

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