Work Related Risk Factors for Neck, Shoulder and Arms Complaints: A Cohort Study Among Dutch Computer Office Workers

This study aims to investigate the relationship between work-related physical and psychosocial characteristics and complaints of the neck, shoulder and forearm/hands. Methods Data were used from a prospective Dutch cohort study among computer office workers with a follow-up period of 2 years. The study was conducted among 264 computer users. Physical and psychosocial risk factors were tested to predict the occurrence of neck, shoulder and forearm/hands complaints. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression was used to identify the association between risk factors and outcome variables. The 2 year follow-up prevalence rates with 95% CI for neck complaints were 0.31 (0.28–0.37), for shoulder complaints 0.33 (0.27–0.39) and for forearm/hands complaints 0.21 (0.14–0.28). Four main predictors for the occurrence of neck and shoulder complaints were identified: (1) Irregular head and body posture [OR: 1.1 (1.0–1.2) P = 0.04]; (2) task difficulty (job demands) [OR: 1.2 (1.0–1.5) P = 0.01]; (3) number of working hours/day with the computer [OR: 1.20 (1.0–1.4) P = 0.03]; and (4) having had a previous history of complaints [OR: 7.2 (3.8–13.2) P = 0.01]. Two predictors were identified for forearm/hands complaints: time pressure (job demands) [OR: 1.20 (1.0–1.4) P = 0.03] and having had a previous history of complaints [OR: 7.1 (3.5–14.1) P = 0.06]. This longitudinal study suggests that risk factors of upper musculoskeletal complaints in computer workers consist of a mixture of physical and psychosocial characteristics.


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