Date: 24 Jun 2006

Risk factors and musculoskeletal complaints in non-specialized nurses, IC nurses, operation room nurses, and X-ray technologists

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Objectives: To gain more insight into the prevalence rates of musculoskeletal complaints of neck-shoulder and low back and to determine the relation between physical and psychosocial work-related risk factors and the complaints mentioned in non-specialized nurses, operation room nurses, Intensive Care (IC) nurses and X-ray technologists. Methods: The study population consists of 3,169 employees affiliated to eight university hospitals in the Netherlands. The study was conducted using a cross-sectional survey design. The parameters under study were having or having had (severe) low back or neck-shoulder complaints during the past year. In logistic regression analyses odds ratio’s and CI 95% were estimated for all relevant risk factors for each of the four professional groups. Results: In all groups prevalence rates of musculoskeletal complaints were high: low back 76%, neck-shoulder 60%. Operation room nurses perceived more neck-shoulder complaints (12 months prevalence) than non-specialized nurses and IC nurses perceived less severe low back complaints than non-specialized nurses. Four physical risk factors and one psychosocial factor were associated with low back complaints in all groups. Conclusions: The results of the present study indicate that both low back complaints and neck-shoulder complaints are major health problems in the four professional groups under study. The prevalence rate of neck-shoulder complaints in operation room nurses is higher than in non-specialized nurses and IC nurses, the latter groups having high prevalence rates already. The exposure to risk factors is perceived differently by each of the professional groups. The professional groups under study all are target for preventive interventions; these interventions need to be specified for each of the professional groups.