, Volume 84, Issue 2, pp 115-119,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The prevalence and incidence of musculoskeletal symptoms among hospital physicians: a systematic review



Physicians are exposed to a range of work-related risk factors that may result in occupational diseases. This systematic review aims at shedding light on the prevalence and incidence of musculoskeletal complaints among hospital physicians.


A systematic literature search was performed in Pubmed and EMBASE (1990–2010), and methodological quality criteria were applied. A search was done for musculoskeletal complaints.


Five medium-quality studies and three high-quality studies were included in this review. The definitions and assessment used in the studies for musculoskeletal complaints were different. In short, the frequently reported prevalence for hand and wrist pain was 8–33 and 0%, 17% for shoulder pain, and 9–28% for neck pain. Moreover, the annual prevalence of low back pain was between 33 and 68%.


The limited number of studies makes it difficult to draw conclusions, and the results should be intepreted with care. In conclusion, musculoskeletal complaints may be work-related complaints in hospital physicians, which need future attention.