The Prevalence of and Risk Factors Associated with Musculoskeletal Disorders among Sonographers in Central China: A Cross-Sectional Study.PLoS One. 2016; 11(10):e0163903.Plos
Studies from industrialized countries show that musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) occur commonly in sonographers. However, little is known about sonographers in China, where the awareness of ergonomics and MSD, workload, and available equipment/facilities may differ. We aimed to investigate the prevalence of MSD and associated risk factors in sonographers in central China.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted with 381 sonographers from 14 randomly selected tertiary hospitals in Hubei province, central China. Musculoskeletal symptoms (using the Nordic Questionnaire) and risk factors (mostly derived from the Health Benefit Trust survey instrument and the Dutch Musculoskeletal Questionnaire) were recorded. Multivariate logistic regression was used to quantify associations between risk factors and MSD.
The 12-month period prevalence of MSD was 98.3%, being highest in the neck (93.5%) and shoulder (92.2%), followed by the lower back (83.2%), wrist/hand, upper back, and elbow. Factors contributing to neck pain were psychological fatigue, shoulder abduction and trunk bend-and-twist posture. Height-adjustable tables and chairs were protective factors. Shoulder pain was associated with female sex, health status, mental stress, shoulder abduction, and trunk bend-and-twist posture. Height-adjustable chairs and the awareness of adjusting the workstation before scanning were protective factors. Elbow pain was associated with health status and height-adjustable tables. Wrist/hand pain was associated with female sex, bending the wrist, and working with obese patients. Upper back pain was associated with shoulder abduction, height-adjustable chairs, and device location. Lower back pain was associated with the number of scans performed per day, awkward postures, bending the trunk, twisting or bending the neck forward, and using a footrest.
This study suggests a high prevalence of MSD in sonographers in central China. Hence, it is necessary to improve the awareness of MSD by training, and the ergonomics of their current work environment by addressing physical workload, and psychological and equipment/facility-related factors.