Prevalence of complaints of arm, neck and shoulder among computer office workers and psychometric evaluation of a risk factor questionnaire.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Complaints of Arm Neck and Shoulder (CANS) represent a wide range of complaints, which can differ in severity from mild, periodic symptoms to severe, chronic and debilitating conditions. They are thought to be associated with both physical and psychosocial risk factors. The measurement and identification of the various risk factors for these complaints is an important step towards recognizing (a) high risk subgroups that are relevant in profiling CANS; and (b) also for developing targeted and effective intervention plans for treatment. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of CANS in a Dutch population of computer workers and to develop a questionnaire aimed at measuring workplace physical and psychosocial risk factors for the presence of these complaints. METHODS: To examine potential workplace risk factors for the presence of CANS, the Maastricht Upper Extremity Questionnaire (MUEQ), a structured questionnaire, was developed and tested among 264 computer office workers of a branch office of the national social security institution in the Netherlands. The MUEQ holds 95 items covering demographic characteristics, in addition to seven main domains assessing potential risk factors with regard to (1) work station, (2) posture during work, (3) quality of break time, (4) job demands, (5) job control, and (6) social support. The MUEQ further contained some additional questions about the quality of the work environment and the presence of complaints in the neck, shoulder, upper and lower arm, elbow, hand and wrist. The prevalence rates of CANS in the past year were computed. Further, we investigated the psychometric properties of the MUEQ (i.e. factor structure and reliability). RESULTS: The one-year prevalence rate of CANS indicated that 54% of the respondents reported at least one complaint in the arm, neck and/or shoulder. The highest prevalence rates were found for neck and shoulder symptoms (33% and 31% respectively), followed by hand and upper arm complaints (11% to 12%) and elbow, lower arm and wrist complaints (6% to 7%). The psychometric properties of the MUEQ were assessed using exploratory factor analysis which resulted in the identification of 12 factors. The calculation of internal consistency and cross validation provided evidence of reliability and lack of redundancy of items. CONCLUSION: Neck and shoulder complaints are more frequently reported among Dutch computer workers than arm, elbow and hand complaints. The results further indicate that the MUEQ has satisfactory reliability and internal consistency when used to document CANS among computer workers in the Netherlands.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Complaints of the arm, neck and/or shoulders (CANS) in general and computer-related disorders in particular affect millions of computer office workers in Western developed countries. However, with the widespread use of computer systems in developing countries, the associated musculoskeletal complaints are yet to be investigated. AIM: To study the prevalence of work-related CANS, among computer office workers in Sudan, and to test the psychometric properties of a translated Dutch questionnaire in Arabic language. METHODS: In 2005 282 computer office workers at a mobile telecommunication company and three banks in Khartoum, Sudan, received an Arabic language version of the validated Maastricht upper extremity questionnaire (MUEQ). The questionnaire holds 109 items covering demographic characteristics, in addition to six main domains (i.e. work station, body posture, break time, job control, job demands and social support) assessing potential physical and psychosocial risk factors. Forward/backward translation of the MUQE was done independently by two different translators. Prevalence over the past year were computed for CANS. Further, the psychometric properties of the Arabic questionnaire were investigated (i.e. factor structure and reliability) and cross-validation was carried out. RESULTS: The response rate of the questionnaire was 88% (n = 250). The one-year prevalence of CANS showed that 53% of the respondents could be classified as mild cases. The highest incidences were found for neck and shoulder symptoms (64% and 41% respectively). The analysis of the psychometric properties of the scale resulted in the identification of 2 factors for each of the 6 domains (i.e. office equipment, computer position, head and body posture, awkward body posture, autonomy, quality of break time, skill discretion, decision authority, time pressure, task complexity, social support, and work flow). The calculation of internal consistency and cross validation provided evidence of reliability and lack of redundancy of items. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of CANS among the targeted population seems to correspond strongly with prevalence of CANS in Western developed countries. The Arabic translation of the MUEQ has satisfactory psychometric properties to be used to assess work-related risk factors for the development of CANS among computer office workers in Sudan.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Many people suffer from complaints of the arm, neck or shoulder (CANS). CANS causes significant work problems, including absenteeism (sickness absence), presenteeism (decreased work productivity) and, ultimately, job loss. There is a need for intervention programs for people suffering from CANS. Management of symptoms and workload, and improving the workstyle, could be important factors in the strategy to deal with CANS. The objective of this study is to evaluate the experienced problems of employees with CANS, as a first step in an intervention mapping process aimed at adaptation of an existing self-management program to the characteristics of employees suffering from CANS.<h4>Methods</h4>A qualitative study comprising three focus group meetings with 15 employees suffering from CANS. Based on a question guide, participants were asked about experiences in relation to continuing work despite their complaints. Data were analysed using content analysis with an open-coding system. During selective coding, general themes and patterns were identified and relationships between the codes were examined.<h4>Results</h4>Participants suffering from CANS often have to deal with pain, disability, fatigue, misunderstanding and stress at work. Some needs of the participants were identified, i.e. disease-specific information, exercises, muscle relaxation, working with pain, influence of the work and/or social environment, and personal factors (including workstyle).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Employees suffering from CANS search for ways to deal with their complaints in daily life and at work. This study reveals several recurring problems and the results endorse the multi-factorial origin of CANS. Participants generally experience problems similar to those of employees with other types of complaints or chronic diseases, e.g. related to their illness, insufficient communication, working together with healthcare professionals, colleagues and management, and workplace adaptations. These topics will be addressed in the adaptation of an existing self-management program to the characteristics of employees suffering from CANS.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: The objective of the present study is to describe the extent of productivity loss among computer workers with neck/shoulder symptoms and hand/arm symptoms, and to examine associations between pain intensity, various physical and psychosocial factors and productivity loss in computer workers with neck/shoulder and hand/arm symptoms. METHODS: A cross-sectional design was used. The study population consisted of 654 computer workers with neck/shoulder or hand/arm symptoms from five different companies. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the occurrence of self-reported productivity loss. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the associations. RESULTS: In 26% of all the cases reporting symptoms, productivity loss was involved, the most often in cases reporting both symptoms (36%). Productivity loss involved sickness absence in 11% of the arm/hand cases, 32% of the neck/shoulder cases and 43% of the cases reporting both symptoms. The multivariate analyses showed statistically significant odds ratios for pain intensity (OR: 1.26; CI: 1.12-1.41), for high effort/no low reward (OR: 2.26; CI: 1.24-4.12), for high effort/low reward (OR: 1.95; CI: 1.09-3.50), and for low job satisfaction (OR: 3.10; CI: 1.44-6.67). Physical activity in leisure time, full-time work and overcommitment were not associated with productivity loss. CONCLUSION: In most computer workers with neck/shoulder symptoms or hand/arm symptoms productivity loss derives from a decreased performance at work and not from sickness absence. Favorable psychosocial work characteristics might prevent productivity loss in symptomatic workers.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Arm, shoulder and neck symptoms are very prevalent among computer workers. In an attempt to reduce these symptoms, a large occupational health service in the Netherlands developed a preventive programme on exposure to risk factors, prevalence of arm, shoulder and neck symptoms, and sick leave in computer workers. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of this intervention programme. METHODS: The study was a randomised controlled trial. The participants were assigned to either the intervention group or the usual care group by means of cluster randomisation. At baseline and after 12 months of follow-up, the participants completed the RSI QuickScan questionnaire on exposure to the risk factors and on the prevalence of arm, shoulder and neck symptoms. A tailor-made intervention programme was proposed to participants with a high risk profile at baseline. Examples of implemented interventions are an individual workstation check, a visit to the occupational health physician and an education programme on the prevention of arm, shoulder and neck symptoms. The primary outcome measure was the prevalence of arm, shoulder and neck symptoms. Secondary outcome measures were the scores on risk factors for arm, shoulder and neck symptoms and the number of days of sick leave. Sick leave data was obtained from the companies. Multilevel analyses were used to test the effectiveness. RESULTS: Of the 1,673 persons invited to participate in the study, 1,183 persons (71%) completed the baseline questionnaire and 741 persons participated at baseline as well as at 12-month follow-up. At 12-month follow-up, the intervention group showed a significant positive change (OR = 0.48) in receiving information on healthy computer use, as well as a significant positive change regarding risk indicators for work posture and movement, compared to the usual care group. There were no significant differences in changes in the prevalence of arm, shoulder and neck symptoms or sick leave between the intervention and usual care group. CONCLUSIONS: The effects of the RSI QuickScan intervention programme were small, possibly as a result of difficulties with the implementation process of the proposed interventions. However, some significant positive effects were found as to an increase in receiving education and a decrease in exposure to adverse postures and movements. With regard to symptoms and sick leave, only small and non-significant effects were found. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Netherlands National Trial Register NTR1117.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Complaints of the arm, neck, or shoulder (CANS) have a multifactorial origin and cause considerable work problems, including decreased work productivity, sickness absence, and, ultimately, job loss. There is a need for intervention programs for people with CANS. Self-management is an approach used in chronic disease care to improve self-efficacy and wellness behaviors to facilitate participants to make informed choices and carry them out. This study will evaluate the effectiveness of a self-management program (including ehealth) and compare it to usual care among employees with chronic CANS (lasting >3 months). METHODS/DESIGN: This is a randomized controlled trial in which 142 participants will be recruited and randomized (with pre-stratification) to either the intervention group (IG) or control group (CG). The IG will participate in a self-management program consisting of six group sessions and an ehealth module. The CG is allowed to use all usual care available. The primary outcome of the study is the self-reported disability of arm, shoulder, and hand, measured with the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire (DASH). Secondary outcomes include: absenteeism, pain in the previous week, quality of life, catastrophizing pain, self-efficacy, workstyle, presenteeism, fatigue, the use of usual care, and limitations experienced on the job. Data are collected at baseline and at 3, 6, and 12 months follow-up. DISCUSSION: Following the process of intervention mapping we developed a self-management program to suit and alleviate the problems and needs of employees with CANS. A strength of the study is that our intervention is specifically tailored to match the needs of employees with CANS. The study also has some potential weaknesses (for example, use of co-interventions, combination of group sessions and ehealth, self-reporting of data and possible contamination, Hawthorne effect, and recall or information bias) which are discussed. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial is registered with the Dutch Trial Register (http://www.trialregister.nlNTR3816): (January 2013). The first participant was randomized in September 2012.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Physical therapists working in the State of Kuwait are at risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). However, prevalence rates and risk factors are not well documented. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence, characteristics, and impacts of WMSDs among physical therapists in the State of Kuwait.<h4>Methods</h4>A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 350 physical therapists. The questionnaire gathered demographic data as well as information on occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints in the previous 12 months. Descriptive statistics, frequency, and Chi-square analyses were used.<h4>Results</h4>The response rate to the questionnaire was 63% (222/350). Of the 212 responders included in the study, the one-year prevalence of WMSDs was 47.6%, with lower back complaints as the most common (32%). This was followed by neck (21%), upper back (19%), shoulder (13%), hand/wrist (11%), knee (11%), ankle/foot (6%), elbow (4%), and hip/thigh (3%) complaints. The frequency of WMSDs was not gender related (except lower back, neck, and shoulder complaints) nor was it related to age (except lower back complaints), working venues (except hand/wrist), working hours, area of specialty, or exercise. WMSDs' impact on work was minor.<h4>Conclusions</h4>WMSDs among physical therapists in Kuwait were common, with lower back and neck affected most. Lower back and neck WMSDs were related to the participant's demographics. Hand/wrist WMSDs were related to work settings. Further research is needed to investigate the effect of risk factors as physical load, psychosocial load, and general health status on prevalence musculoskeletal disorders.
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>Our study aimed to investigate the association between comprehensive workstations and neck and upper-limb pain (NUP) among office workers.<h4>Methods</h4>This cross-sectional study included 307 office workers (median age, 39 years; 88% men). Workstations (presence of armrest, armrest position, number of monitors used, mouse position, mouse usage, keyboard usage, and keyboard position) were investigated in terms of 17 items and judged as "adequate" or "inadequate." NUP was assessed using a numerical rating scale. NUP locations included the neck, shoulder, elbow, and wrist. In the statistical analysis, outcome variables were the presence of pain in each part, while explanatory variables were the number of inadequate workstations. Logistic regression analyses were conducted with adjustment for age, gender, working duration, and exercise habit.<h4>Results</h4>The prevalence of neck pain was 47% (n = 143), shoulder pain was 50% (n = 153), elbow pain was 7.2% (n = 22), and wrist pain was 13% (n = 40). In the adjusted model, the number of inadequate workstations had significant positive associations with elbow pain (odds ratio [OR], 1.39; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06.1.81) and wrist pain (OR, 1.80; 95% CI, 18.104.22.168). However, the number of inadequate workstations was not significantly associated with neck pain or shoulder pain.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Workstation-related factors (presence of armrest, armrest position, mouse usage, and keyboard usage) were significantly associated with elbow and wrist pain. Our findings suggest that workstations can contribute to elbow and wrist pain in office workers.
Project description:The costs of arm, shoulder and neck symptoms are high. In order to decrease these costs employers implement interventions aimed at reducing these symptoms. One frequently used intervention is the RSI QuickScan intervention programme. It establishes a risk profile of the target population and subsequently advises interventions following a decision tree based on that risk profile. The purpose of this study was to perform an economic evaluation, from both the societal and companies' perspective, of the RSI QuickScan intervention programme for computer workers. In this study, effectiveness was defined at three levels: exposure to risk factors, prevalence of arm, shoulder and neck symptoms, and days of sick leave.The economic evaluation was conducted alongside a randomised controlled trial (RCT). Participating computer workers from 7 companies (N = 638) were assigned to either the intervention group (N = 320) or the usual care group (N = 318) by means of cluster randomisation (N = 50). The intervention consisted of a tailor-made programme, based on a previously established risk profile. At baseline, 6 and 12 month follow-up, the participants completed the RSI QuickScan questionnaire. Analyses to estimate the effect of the intervention were done according to the intention-to-treat principle. To compare costs between groups, confidence intervals for cost differences were computed by bias-corrected and accelerated bootstrapping.The mean intervention costs, paid by the employer, were 59 euro per participant in the intervention and 28 euro in the usual care group. Mean total health care and non-health care costs per participant were 108 euro in both groups. As to the cost-effectiveness, improvement in received information on healthy computer use as well as in their work posture and movement was observed at higher costs. With regard to the other risk factors, symptoms and sick leave, only small and non-significant effects were found.In this study, the RSI QuickScan intervention programme did not prove to be cost-effective from the both the societal and companies' perspective and, therefore, this study does not provide a financial reason for implementing this intervention. However, with a relatively small investment, the programme did increase the number of workers who received information on healthy computer use and improved their work posture and movement.NTR1117.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Occupational use of computers has increased rapidly over recent decades, and has been linked with various musculoskeletal disorders, which are now the most commonly diagnosed occupational diseases in Estonia. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain (MSP) by anatomical region during the past 12 months and to investigate its association with personal characteristics and work-related risk factors among Estonian office workers using computers.<h4>Methods</h4>In a cross-sectional survey, the questionnaires were sent to the 415 computer users. Data were collected by self-administered questionnaire from 202 computer users at two universities in Estonia. The questionnaire asked about MSP at different anatomical sites, and potential individual and work related risk factors. Associations with risk factors were assessed by logistic regression.<h4>Results</h4>Most respondents (77%) reported MSP in at least one anatomical region during the past 12 months. Most prevalent was pain in the neck (51%), followed by low back pain (42%), wrist/hand pain (35%) and shoulder pain (30%). Older age, right-handedness, not currently smoking, emotional exhaustion, belief that musculoskeletal problems are commonly caused by work, and low job security were the statistically significant risk factors for MSP in different anatomical sites.<h4>Conclusions</h4>A high prevalence of MSP in the neck, low back, wrist/arm and shoulder was observed among Estonian computer users. Psychosocial risk factors were broadly consistent with those reported from elsewhere. While computer users should be aware of ergonomic techniques that can make their work easier and more comfortable, presenting computer use as a serious health hazard may modify health beliefs in a way that is unhelpful.
Project description:Purpose To investigate the experiences of participants of a self-management program for employees with complaints of the arm, neck or shoulder (CANS). The program consisted of six group sessions combined with an eHealth module. Methods Semi-structured interviews with the first 31 consecutive participants of the intervention group participating in a randomized controlled trial. Participants were interviewed after their last group session. Semi-structured interviews were guided by an interview guide and audio-recorded. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis and the emerging themes were discussed. All participants in the intervention group were asked about their experiences with a questionnaire at three (n = 58) and 12-months (n = 53) follow-up. Results Most participants appreciated the diversity of the program and benefited from the interaction with their peers. The eHealth module, although not used by everyone, was generally experienced as positive, especially the section with the physical exercises. Participants obtained more insight into their complaints and increased awareness, which contributed to the acceptance of and coping with the complaints. There was also criticism about the content of the program and the lack of a follow-up session. Results of the questionnaires showed that participants had a high level of satisfaction. Conclusions In general, the intervention fitted the needs of employees with CANS. Participants obtained more knowledge and insight into their complaints, as well as increased awareness; all this contributed to a behavioral change and improved coping. Many participants made changes at work and during their leisure time, whereas some felt that continuing their 'changed' behavior would be a challenge.