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Pressure pain sensitivity maps, self-reported musculoskeletal disorders and sickness absence among cleaners

Abstract

Background

Pressure pain threshold mapping is a valuable method for the identification of distinct zones of mechanical pain sensitivity. Such approach was applied for the first time in relation to self-reported musculoskeletal disorders and long-term sickness absence (LTSA) within the last 12 months among cleaners.

Methods

About 29 cleaners filled out a self-administered questionnaire regarding health, work-related measures and musculoskeletal disorders. Subsequently, PPTs were measured at (1) tibialis anterior (control location, 1 point), (2) the neck-shoulder (48 points) and (3) the low back regions (27 points). LTSA was defined as ten or more consecutive workdays with sick leave.

Results

The PPT maps revealed the spatial heterogeneity in mechanical sensitivity among cleaners. The level of pain in the neck and dominant shoulder and upper back within the last 7 days correlated negatively with most PPT measurements. The group of cleaners with LTSA had significantly lower levels of PPT (large effects) in the neck-shoulder region than the cleaners with no LTSA (P < 0.05; partial η2 = 0.19 in average).

Conclusions

The present study investigated pressure pain topographical maps from the neck-shoulder and low back region in cleaners. Cleaners with LTSA the last year exhibited mechanical hyperalgesia as depicted by lower PPT in the neck-shoulder compared with cleaners without LTSA. More studies assessing the relation between PPT maps, self-reported musculoskeletal disorders and sickness absence are warranted.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Gry Barstad and Marianne Hagbarth (Technical Administration, Aalborg University) for their support. This work was financially supported by Gigtforeningen and is a part of the FINALE programme supported by a grant from the Danish Working Environment Research Foundation.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Pascal Madeleine.

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Binderup, A.T., Holtermann, A., Søgaard, K. et al. Pressure pain sensitivity maps, self-reported musculoskeletal disorders and sickness absence among cleaners. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 84, 647–654 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-011-0627-6

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Keywords

  • Pressure pain topography
  • Work-related musculoskeletal disorders
  • Neck-shoulder region
  • Low back region
  • Sick leave