Author(s): Alexopoulos EC, Burdorf A, Kalokerinou A
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: To investigate the relationships between physical, psychosocial, and individual characteristics and different endpoints of musculoskeletal complaints of the lower back, neck and shoulders. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study a questionnaire survey was carried out among 351 nursing personnel (response 84\%) in six general hospitals in Athens, Greece. A questionnaire was used on physical and psychosocial workload, need for recovery, perceived general health and (1) the occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints in the past 12 months, (2) chronic complaints during at least 3 months, and (3) complaints which led to sickness absence. In logistic regression analysis odds ratios (ORs) were estimated for all relevant risk factors. RESULTS: Self-reported factors of physical load were associated with the occurrence of back pain (OR=1.85), neck pain (OR=1.88), and shoulder pain (OR=1.87) but these factors were not associated with chronic complaints and musculoskeletal sickness absence. Physical load showed a trend with the number of musculoskeletal complaints with ORs of 2.47 and 4.13 for two and three musculoskeletal complaints, respectively. No consistent influence of psychosocial factors on complaints, chronicity, or sickness absence was observed. A perceived moderate general health was also a risk factor, and strongest associations were observed for sickness absence due to back pain (OR=2.03), neck pain (OR=8.31), and shoulder pain (OR=6.84). CONCLUSIONS: The handling of physical loads among nurses seems to put them at risk for the occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders. The development of these complaints into chronic complaints and associated sickness absence is strongly determined by perceived general health and almost not associated with work-related physical and psychosocial risk factors. When the influence of work-related risk factors on musculoskeletal health is being investigated, the general health status of individual workers should be taken into account.
This article was published in Int Arch Occup Environ Health
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy