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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

, 15:181

Rehabilitation, physical therapy and occupational health


BackgroundOccupational 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.

MethodsIn 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.

ResultsMost 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.

ConclusionsA 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.

KeywordsComputer workers Musculoskeletal pain Risk factors CUPID study Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2474-15-181 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Kristel Oha - Liina Animägi - Mati Pääsuke - David Coggon - Eda Merisalu


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