Longitudinal evidence for the association between work-related physical exposures and neck and/or shoulder complaints: a systematic review

Review Article

Abstract

Background

Most existing reviews focus on evidence for the association between neck and/or shoulder complaints and physical exposures at the workplace gathered from cross-sectional studies. In comparison, this review summarizes existing evidence from longitudinal studies only.

Methods

A systematic literature research was conducted in Medline and EMBASE (1975–2009), and all studies were scanned by at least two researchers according to strict inclusion criteria. Levels of evidence were assigned according to the number of studies reporting similar findings, and according to the methodological quality of the included studies.

Results

Altogether 21 longitudinal studies (19 high-quality studies) met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review. In comparison with former reviews, we found strong evidence for an association between shoulder complaints and manual material handling (MMH) (range between Odds Ratio (OR) 1.4 and 4.9), vibration (range between OR 1.6 and OR 2.5), trunk flexion or rotation (range between OR 1.8 and OR 5.1), and working with hands above shoulder level (range between OR 1.1 and OR 1.8). Apart from that, the included studies confirmed existing knowledge on the association between physical exposures at the workplace and neck and/or shoulder complaints.

Conclusions

This analysis of longitudinal studies allowed for new evidence with regard to four cause-effect chains between physical exposures at work and the development of shoulder, neck and neck/shoulder complaints. As outcome variables varied greatly among the included studies, harmonization in studies on musculoskeletal research is desirable.

Keywords

Neck disorders Shoulder disorders Exposure Evidence 

References

  1. Altmann DG (2001) Systematic reviews of evaluations of prognostic variables. BMJ 323:224–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersen JH, Kaergaard A, Mikkelsen S, Jensen UF, Frost P, Bonde JP, Falletin N, Thomsen JF (2003) Risk factors in the onset of neck/shoulder pain in a prospective study of workers in industrial and service companies. Occup Environ Med 60:649–654CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andersen JH, Haahr JP, Frost P (2007) Risk factors for more severe regional musculoskeletal symptoms: a two-year prospective study of a general working population. Arthritis Rheum 56:1355–1364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ariëns GAM, van Mechelen W, Bonger PM, Bouter LM, van der Wal G (2000) Physical risk factors for neck pain. Scand J Work Environ Health 26:7–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ariëns GAM, Bongers PM, Douwes M, Miedema MC, Hoogendoorn WE, van der Wal G, Bouter LM, van Mechelen W (2001) Are neck flexion, neck rotation, and sitting at work risk factors for neck pain? Results of a prospective cohort study. Occup Environ Med 58:200–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ariëns GAM, Bongers PM, Hoogendoorn WE, van der Wal G, van Mechelen W (2002) High physical and psychosocial load at work and sickness absence due to neck pain. Scand J Work Environ Health 28:222–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bernard BP (ed) (1997) Musculoskeletal disorders and workplace factors—a critical review of epidemiologic evidence for work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, upper extremity, and low back. US Department of Health and Human Services. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)Google Scholar
  8. Bigos SJ, Bowyer O, Braen G, Brown K, Deyo R, Haldeman S, Hart JL, Johnson EW, Keller R, Kido D, Liang MH, Nelson RM, Nordin M, Owen BD, Pope MH, Schwartz RK, Stewart DH, Susman J, Triano JJ, Tripp LC, Turk DC, Watts C, Weinstein JN (1994) Acute low back problems in adults. Clinical practice guideline No. 14. AHCPR publication No. 95-0642Google Scholar
  9. Bongers PM, de Winter CR, Kompier MAJ, Hildebrandt VH (1993) Psychosocial factors at work and musculoskeletal disease. Scand J Work Environ Health 19:297–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cassou B, Derriennic F, Monfort C, Norton J, Touranchet A (2002) Chronic neck and shoulder pain, age, and working conditions: longitudinal results from a large random sample in France. Occup Environ Med 59:537–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Feveile H, Jensen C, Burr H (2002) Risk factors for neck-shoulder and wrist-hand symptoms in a 5-year follow-up study of 3, 990 employees in Denmark. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 75:243–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gelman A, Stern H (2006) The difference between “significant” and “not significant” is not itself statistically significant. Am Stat 60:328–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gerr F, Letz R, Landrigan PJ (1991) Upper-extremity musculoskeletal disorders of occupational origin. Annu Rev Public Health 12:543–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grooten WJA, Wiktorin C, Norrman L, Josephson M, Tornqvist EW, Alfredsson L (2004) Seeking care for neck/shoulder pain: a prospective study of work-related risk factors in a healthy population. J Occup Environ Med 46:138–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grooten WJA, Mulder M, Josephson M, Alfredsson L, Wiktorin C (2007) The influence of work-related exposures on the prognosis of neck/shoulder pain. Eur Spine J 16:2083–2091CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hagberg M, Wegman DH (1987) Prevalence rates and odds ratios for shoulder-neck diseases in different occupational groups. Occup Environ Med 44:602–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Harkness EF, Macfarlane GJ, Nahit ES, Silman AJ, McBeth J (2003) Mechanical and psychosocial factors predict new onset shoulder pain: a prospective cohort study of newly employed workers. Occup Environ Med 60:850–857CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Harrington JM, Hancock J, Gompertz D, Spurgeon A (1996) Work related upper limb pain syndromes—origins and management. Report on a research priorities workshop hosted by the Institute of Occupational Health, University of Birmingham. http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/misc/harrington.pdf
  19. Hill J, Lewis M, Papageorgiou AC, Dziedzic K, Croft P (2004) Predicting persistent neck pain. Spine 29:1648–1654CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hoogendoorn WE, van Poppel MNM, Bongers PM, Koes BW, Bouter LM (2000) Systematic review of psychosocial factors at work and private life as risk factors for back pain. Spine 25:2114–2125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hoozemans MJM, van der Beek AJ, Frings-Dresen MHW, van der Woude LHV, van Dijk FJH (2002) Low-back and shoulder complaints among workers with pushing and pulling tasks. Scand J Work Environ Health 28:293–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Johannson K, Hagberg M (1990) Risk identification of vibration related hand symptoms—validation of questionnaire (in Swedish with English summary). Arbete Och Hälsa 13:1–46Google Scholar
  23. Juul-Kristensen B, Jensen C (2005) Self-reported workplace related ergonomic conditions as prognostic factors for musculoskeletal symptoms: the “BIT” follow up study on office workers. Occup Environ Med 62:188–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kihlberg S, Hagberg M (1997) Hand arm-symptoms related to impact and non-impact-held power tools. Int Arch Environ Health 69:282–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kuijpers T, van der Windt DAWM, van der Heijden GJMG, Bouter LM (2004) Systematic review of prognostic studies on shoulder disorders. Pain 109:420–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kujipers T, van der Windt DAWM, van der Heijden GJMG, Twisk JWR, Vergouwe Y, Bouter LM (2006) A prediction rule for shoulder pain related sick leave: a prospective cohort study. BMC Muskulosklet Disord 7:97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Leclerc A, Chastang JF, Niedhammer I, Landre MF, Roquelaure Y (2004) Incidence of shoulder pain in repetitive work. Occup Environ Med 61:39–44Google Scholar
  28. Linton SJ (2000) A review of psychological risk factors in back and neck pain. Spine 25:1148–1156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Linton SJ, Hellsing AL, Halldén K (1998) A population-based study of spinal pain among 35–45 year old individuals. Spine 23:1457–1463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Luime JJ, Kuiper JI, Koes BW, Verhaar JAN, Miedema HS, Burdorf A (2004) Work-related risk factors for the incidence and recurrence of shoulder and neck complaints among nursing-home and elderly-care workers. Scand J Work Environ Health 30:279–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mattioli S, Zanardi F, Baldasseroni A, Schaafsma F, Cooke RMT, Mancini G, Fierro M, Santangelo C, Farioli A, Fucksia S, Curti S, Violante FS, Verbeek J (2010) Search strings for study of putative occupational determinants of disease. Occup Environ Med 67:436–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Miranda H, Viikari-Junctura E, Martikainen R, Takala EP, Riihimäki H (2001) A prospective study of work-related factors and physical exercise as predictors of shoulder pain. Occup Environ Med 58:528–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Miranda H, Punnett L, Viikari-Junctura E, Heliövaara M, Knekt P (2008) Physical work and chronic shoulder disorder. Results of a prospective population-based study. Ann Rheum Dis 67:218–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Palmer KT, Smedley J (2007) Work relatedness of chronic neck shoulder pain with physical findings—a systematic review. Scand J Work Environ Health 33:165–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Seidler A, Bolm-Audorff U, Petereit-Haack G, Ball E, Klupp M, Krauss N, Elsner G (2011) Work-related lesions of the supraspinatus tendon: a case-control study. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 84:425–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Smith CK, Silverstein BA, Fan ZJ, Bao S, Johnson PW (2009) Psychosocial factors and shoulder symptom development among workers. Am J Ind Med 52:57–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Svendsen SW, Gelineck J, Mathiassen SE, Bonde JP, Frich LH, Stengaard-Pedersen K, Egund N (2004) Work above shoulder level and degenerative alterations of the rotator cuff tendons. Arthritis Rheumatism 50:3314–3322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Van der Heijden GJ (1999) Shoulder disorders: a state-of-the-art review. Baillieres Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol 13:287–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Van der Windt DAWM, Thomas E, Pope DP, de Winter AF, Macfarlane GJ, Bouter LM, Silman AJ (2000) Occupational risk factors for shoulder pain: a systematic review. Occup Environ Med 57:433–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Van Rijn RM, Huisstede BMA, Koes BW, Burdorf A (2010) Associations between work-related factors and specific disorders of the shoulder—a systematic review of literature. Scand J Work Environ Health 36:189–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Viikari-Junctura E, Riihimäki H, Tola S, Videman T, Mutanen P (1994) Neck trouble in machine operating, dynamic physical work and sedentary work: a prospective study on occupational and individual risk factors. J Clin Epidemiol 47:1411–1422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Viikari-Junctura E, Martikainen R, Luukkonen R, Mutanen P, Takala EP, Riihimäki H (2001) Longitudinal study on work related and individual risk factors affecting radiating neck pain. Occup Environ Med 58:345–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wahlström J, Burström L, Hagberg M, Lundström R, Nilsson T (2008) Musculoskeletal symptoms among male workers and associations with exposure to hand arm-vibration and ergonomic stressors. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 81:595–602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Walker-Bone K, Cooper C (2005) Hard work never hurt anyone: or did it?: a review of occuoational associations with soft tissue musculoskeletal disorders of the neck and upper limb. Ann Rheum Dis 64:1391–1396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wallace M, Buckle P (1987) Ergonomic aspects of neck and upper limb pain. Int Rev Ergonomics 1:173–200Google Scholar
  46. Winkel J, Mathiassen SE (1994) Assessment of physical work load in epidemiologic studies: concepts, issues and operational considerations. Ergonomics 37:979–988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Winkel J, Westgaard R (1992) Occupational and individual risk factors for shoulder neck complaints: part II the scientific basis (literature review) for guide. Int J Ind Ergon 10:85–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical FacultyInstitute of Occupational and Social Medicine, RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

Personalised recommendations