[Upper-limb work-related musculoskeletal disorders (UL-WMSDs) and latency of effect].Med Lav. 2008 Sep-Oct; 99(5):352-61.ML
Trends in work-related upper limb musculoskeletal disorders appear to be in constant increase in industrialized countries. In Europe claims and compensation for these disorders have significantly increased.
The aim of this study was to investigate the temporal relationship between the beginning of occupational exposure to repetitive movements and exertions of upper limbs, assessed through the OCRA index, and the manifestation of the disorders.
Clinical and questionnaire information about 557 cases of UL-WMSDs in the upholstered furniture industry were analyzed in order to investigate the mean latency period of the disorders and to verify to what extent different levels of exposure influence the latency time.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS
The latency of UL-WMSDs is influenced by the level of exposure to risk, measured by means of the OCRA index. Shorter latency times were found for wrist/hand tendonitis, with a mean latency time of 5.4 years and with a greater sensitivity to the level of exposure assessed with the OCRA index value. This might support a sort of predictive value with reference to other UL-WMSDs with longer latency. Probably a latency period of 12 years may be suggested as the cut-off limit to assess a causal relationship between tendon or canalicular WMISDs and occupational exposure to repetitive movements and exertions of upper limbs.