Author(s): Nordlund A, Ekberg K
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Abstract AIMS: To explore and compare the prevalence after eight years of self reported musculoskeletal symptoms and general health (SF-36) for groups with initially different degrees of severity of symptoms in the neck/shoulders and/or arms. METHODS: A case-control study was performed in 1989 comprising 129 clinically examined cases and 655 survey controls. The study population was followed up in 1997 with a postal survey. The controls, none of which were clinically examined at baseline (1989), were divided into groups according to degree of severity of self reported symptoms in the neck/shoulders and/or arms at baseline: no symptoms, light symptoms, and severe symptoms. Cases were clinically diagnosed with a musculoskeletal disorder of the neck/shoulders and/or arms at baseline. RESULTS: At the 1997 follow up, there was a trend of increasing prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms, as well as decreasing health status as rated in the SF-36 over the three severity groups among controls. Only small differences were seen between the cases and the controls reporting severe musculoskeletal symptoms or the neck/shoulders and/or arms. CONCLUSION: The degree of questionnaire based self reported musculoskeletal symptoms of the neck/shoulders and/or arms clearly indicate different degrees of future health problems (both in terms of self reported musculoskeletal problems and health in general as captured by the SF-36). Therefore, there is a need for improved intervention and health promotion strategies. Such effort should be implemented before musculoskeletal symptoms have developed to clinical cases, particularly in the realm of the workplace.
This article was published in Occup Environ Med
and referenced in Primary Healthcare: Open Access