Ergonomic and individual risk factors for musculoskeletal pain in the ageing workforce.BMC Public Health. 2022 10 28; 22(1):1975.BP
The present study aimed to investigate the possible association between specific ergonomic and individual risk factors and musculoskeletal pain (MSP) in the back, shoulder, hip and knee region in workers aged 50-65y.
The study was a population based cross-sectional survey. The study population comprised citizens born between 1952-1966, living in Esbjerg municipality, Denmark, ultimo 2016 (n = 23,463). A questionnaire was sent electronically or by mail. The analysis included the working population only. A multivariate logistic regression was used for each of the following dependent variables; musculoskeletal pain for the past 3 months in the back, shoulder, hip and knee, where independent variables included ergonomic exposure, age, sex, body mass index (BMI) and leisure time physical activity (LTPA).
The overall response rate was 58% and the data of individuals at work (n = 9,263) demonstrated several ergonomic exposures with increased odds for pain in specific regions. Exposure to back twisted or bend, squatting or lying on knees and to carrying or lifting were associated with musculoskeletal pain in the back, whereas exposure to back twisted or bend, arms above shoulder and repeated arm movement were associated with pain in the shoulder. Exposure to back twisted or bend, repeated arm movement, squatting or lying on knees and to carrying or lifting were associated with musculoskeletal pain in the hip. Important individual risk factors were also identified. Increasing age was significantly associated with increased pain in the hip but associated with less risk for pain in the back and shoulder. Males had higher odds for pain in the back and knee compared to females but lower odds for pain in the hip. BMI was particularly important for knee pain. The level of LTPA did not have an important association with MSP in any region.
There is a significant positive association between ergonomic exposures and musculoskeletal pain, which were specific for the back, shoulder, hip and knee. In addition, the data demonstrated a differential association with age, sex and BMI. This needs to be considered for the treatment and classification of musculoskeletal pain and for future preventive initiatives.