Ramazzini; Blog on work and health by Annet Lenderink

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Also beautiful music can cause pain…

Playing related musculoskeletal disorders can cause big problems for professional musicians: 

Musculoskeletal pain is common in elite professional musicians. In this study the researchers tried to assess the prevalence and impact of this pain in relation to playing conditions, mental health and performance anxiety. They found that a major personal risk factor is somatizing tendency, but performance anxiety has less impact. Risks differ substantially by instrument played, offering pointers towards prevention. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Musculoskeletal problems, Physical load, Psychosocial exposure, ,

Not so easy to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome

To evaluate the utility of physical examination manoeuvres in the prediction of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) a cohort of 1108 newly employed workers in several industries was studied. Each worker completed a symptom questionnaire, a structured physical examination and nerve conduction study. To diagnose CTS both median nerve conduction abnormality and symptoms classified as “classic” or “probable” on a hand diagram were required. The prevalence of CTS in our cohort was 1.2% for the right hand and 1.0% for the left hand. The post-test probability of positive testing was <50% for all strategies tested. In this study it turned out that physical examination, alone or in combination with symptoms, was not predictive of CTS in a working population. Researchers suggest using specific symptoms as a first-level screening tool, and nerve conduction study as a confirmatory test

Diagnostic strategies using physical examination are minimally useful in defining carpal tunnel syndrome in population-based research
 Descatha, A, Dale, A-M, Franzblau, A, Coomes, J, Evanoff, B
Occup Environ Med 2010;67:133-135 doi:10.1136/oem.2009.047431 Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Musculoskeletal problems, Occupational injury, Occupational medicine, ,

Short video explaining carpal tunnel syndrome

Always wanted to know what Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is?
Watch this short film by WorkSafe BC

or this simple, but clear one

Filed under: Musculoskeletal problems, Occupational injury, Physical load, Vibration,

Occupational injuries in emergency responders

emercency respondersEmergency responders frequently incur injuries while providing medical, fire, and law enforcement services. From a study in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – Occupational Supplement (NEISS-Work) for injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2000-2001, it turned out that sprains and strains were the leading injury (33-41%) among EMS, firefighter, and police occupations. Police officers and career firefighters had the highest injury rates (8.5 and 7.4 injuries per 100 full-time equivalent workers, respectively). The researchers conclude that The physical demands of emergency response are a leading cause of injuries.

Occupational injuries among emergency responders
Audrey A. Reichard, MPH, OTR, Larry L. Jackson, PhD
American Journal of Industrial Medicine, published Online: 5 Nov 2009

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Musculoskeletal problems, Occupational injury, Physical load,

CTS: surgery and return to work

CTS_surgeryWork-related carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a leading cause of lengthy disability.  To characterize associations between utilization of CTS surgery and duration of lost work 8224 workers’ compensation claims filed during 1990-1994 were studied. The findings suggest disability can be minimized by establishing the CTS diagnosis as early as possible and, if surgery is appropriate, conducting surgery without substantial delay and maximizing post-operative efforts to facilitate return to work.

Work-related carpal tunnel syndrome in Washington State workers’ compensation: Utilization of surgery and the duration of lost work
William E. Daniell, MD, MPH, Deborah Fulton-Kehoe, MPH, PhD , Gary M. Franklin, MD, MPH Am. J. Ind. Med. 2009

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Compensation, Musculoskeletal problems, Physical load, Sickness absence, , ,

Jumpers knee: risk factors in sport and/or occupation

jumpers_kneePlaying volleyball and basketball has a positive association with the onset or worsening of jumper’s knee. Other risk factors are training and playing hours of at least 12 hours per week and/or in combination with weight training of at least 5 hours per week, and/or with playing or training on a hard surface. We did not find a specific occupational risk factor.

Risk factors for developing jumper’s knee in sport and occupation: a review
Ivo JH Tiemessen, P Paul FM Kuijer*, Carel TJ Hulshof and Monique HW Frings-Dresen BMC Research Notes 2009, 2:127 doi:10.1186/1756-0500-2-127 Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Musculoskeletal problems, Physical load

Ergonomic measures may work if used

748869_construction_in_processThe primary aim of this follow-up study was to evaluate the association between the use of ergonomic measures and musculoskeletal complaints among construction workers during an informational campaign on sector level. The researchers conclude that despite a large informational campaign, regular use of ergonomic measures remained low in a 4.5 year period. Regular use of the majority of ergonomic measures was associated, although not statistically significantly, with a lower likelihood of lower back or shoulder complaints.

The use of ergonomic measures and musculoskeletal complaints among carpenters and pavers in a 4.5-year follow-up study
Van der Molen HF, Sluiter JK, Frings-Dresen MH. Ergonomics. 2009 Aug;52(8):954-63 Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Musculoskeletal problems, Physical load, , , ,

OPs report more back and lower limb conditions

There are significant differences between the patterns of work-related musculoskeletal disaorders seen by the different specialist groups (occupational physicians – OPs , rheumatologists and general practitioners – GPs).OPs report three times as many back and lower limb conditions. However, OPs and rheumatologists report similar numbers of cases of hand–arm vibration syndrome (12/9%) and ‘vague and ill-defined’ upper limb conditions (16/14%).

Work-related musculoskeletal conditions: evidence from the THOR reporting system 2002–2005
Andy Slovak, Melanie Carder, Annemarie Money, Susan Turner and Raymond Agius Occupational Medicine 2009 59(7):447-453Background: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are commonly encountered in current occupational health practice and comprise up to 45% of the workload for occupational physicians (OPs).

Aims: To compare the reported incidence of work-related (WR) MSDs by specialist OPs and specialist rheumatologists and to relate it to self-reported and general practitioners-reported WR MSDs.

Methods: Analysis of data reported to surveillance schemes within The Health and Occupation Reporting (THOR) network and comparison to denominator data derived from the Labour Force Survey and occupational/work activity classifications.

Results: There are significant differences between the patterns of WR MSDs seen by the different specialist groups. Thus OPs report three times as many back and lower limb conditions. However, both specialist groups report similar numbers of cases of hand–arm vibration syndrome (12/9%) and ‘vague and ill-defined’ upper limb conditions (16/14%). The absolute risk of physician reported that WR MSDs increases 5-fold between ages 15–24 and 45–64.

Conclusions: The specialist reporting schemes give an indication of current practice and are useful both to update and to strategically inform planning. The data are amenable, with appropriate statistical analysis, for comparison with self-reporting and to the characterization of risk in broad categories of occupation and work activity.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Musculoskeletal problems, Occupational diseases, Reporting OD's, ,

Back, knee, ankle and feet problems in salespersonnel

standingFrom the very little experience of working during the holidays I remember that working in a book shop meant standing long hours, because it was not polite to the customers to sit down. Researchers from Thailand did some research in self-reported musculoskeletal symptoms in salespersons and conclude that these symptoms are common among salespersons. A high proportion is experiencing symptoms in the low back, knees and ankles/feet; the prevalence of knee problems is associated with age and BMI.

Prevalence of self-reported musculoskeletal symptoms in salespersons
Praneet Pensri, Prawit Janwantanakul and Montakarn Chaikumarn
Occupational Medicine 2009 59(7):499-501 Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Musculoskeletal problems

New HSE review on HAVS

HSE published an extensive review on Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) recently. They introduce it like this:

“Health surveillance for those exposed to hand-arm vibration, and the diagnosis of hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is heavily dependent upon self-reporting of symptoms. However, this self-reporting may not be accurate for a number of reasons including the ability of individuals to recall symptoms, misunderstanding or misidentification of symptoms and fears regarding an individual’s job, or ongoing litigation. Therefore techniques that could be used to obtain better information, or tests that could be applied to obtain a more accurate diagnosis may be useful in this area.”

Click here to download the review

Filed under: Musculoskeletal problems, Physical agents, Vibration, ,

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Annet Lenderink

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Diepenveen, Netherlands

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