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bibliography*The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Sim 2006.

The impact of workplace risk factors on the occurrence of neck and upper limb pain: a general population study

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Tags: etiology, neck, biomechanics, shoulder, pro, head/neck, spine

PainSci summary of Sim 2006?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

From the abstract: “Our findings suggest that modification of the work environment might prevent up to one in three of cases of neck and upper limb pain in the general population, depending on current exposures to occupational risk.”

original abstractAbstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

BACKGROUND: Work-related neck and upper limb pain has mainly been studied in specific occupational groups, and little is known about its impact in the general population. The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence and population impact of work-related neck and upper limb pain.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted of 10,000 adults in North Staffordshire, UK, in which there is a common local manual industry. The primary outcome measure was presence or absence of neck and upper limb pain. Participants were asked to give details of up to five recent jobs, and to report exposure to six work activities involving the neck or upper limbs. Psychosocial measures included job control, demand and support. Odds ratios (ORs) and population attributable fractions were calculated for these risk factors.

RESULTS: The age-standardized one-month period prevalence of neck and upper limb pain was 44%. There were significant independent associations between neck and upper limb pain and: repeated lifting of heavy objects (OR = 1.4); prolonged bending of neck (OR = 2.0); working with arms at/above shoulder height (OR = 1.3); little job control (OR = 1.6); and little supervisor support (OR = 1.3). The population attributable fractions were 0.24 (24%) for exposure to work activities and 0.12 (12%) for exposure to psychosocial factors.

CONCLUSION: Neck and upper limb pain is associated with both physical and psychosocial factors in the work environment. Inferences of cause-and-effect from cross-sectional studies must be made with caution; nonetheless, our findings suggest that modification of the work environment might prevent up to one in three of cases of neck and upper limb pain in the general population, depending on current exposures to occupational risk.

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