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December 2022, Volume 72, Issue 12

Research Article

Frequency and risk factors of musculoskeletal disorders in high risk occupation workers in Urban, Karachi

Muhammad Ovais  ( APPNA Institute of Public Health, Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Karachi, Pakistan. )
Shiraz Shaikh  ( APPNA Institute of Public Health, Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Karachi, Pakistan. )
Athar Hussain Memon  ( APPNA Institute of Public Health, Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Karachi, Pakistan. )

Abstract

Objective: To determine the frequency and risk factors of musculoskeletal disorders in high-risk occupation workers in an urban setting.

 

Method: The analytical cross-sectional study was conducted in Karachi from July to December 2020, and comprised office workers, operation theatre technicians and coolies. The presence of musculoskeletal disorders was assessed using the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire to determine factors associated with moderate to severe condition. Data was analysed using SPSS 20.

 

Results: Of the 300 male subjects, 100(33.3%) each were office workers, operation theatre technicians and coolies. The overall mean age was 33.25±6.8 years (range: 18-50 years). The overall prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders was 179(59.7%). Besides, 117(65.4%) patients with musculoskeletal disorders had intermediate stage of the disease. The lower back and neck were the most common site of trouble involved in preceding 12 months 111(43.6%) each.

 

Conclusion: Prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders was found to be a common problem affecting high-risk occupational workers.

 

Keywords: High-risk occupations, Musculoskeletal disorders. (JPMA 72: 2463; 2022)

 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47391/JPMA.5200

 

Introduction

 

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in adults have a significant risk of morbidity and can contribute to reducing productivity, compromised quality of work, dissatisfaction from jobs, and early retirements.1 Work-related MSDs are one of the major health problems in high-risk occupations.2 According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, about 1.71 billion persons have MSDs worldwide and low-back pain (LBP) causes the highest burden with a prevalence of 586 million people.3 A study in 2017 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) to assess the global burden of MSDs reported that the total Daily Adjusted Life in Years (DALYs) of MSD almost doubled from 1990 to 2013 in the EMR compared to the rest of the world.4

MSDs usually have an impact on tendons, muscles and other soft tissues due to consistent stress.5 MSDs are defined as a group of painful disorders that affect muscle, tendons, nerves and structures that support limbs, neck and back. It is any musculoskeletal trouble that occurs in the preceding 12 months or in the last 7 days that may or may not interfere with daily routine activities.6 MSDs are one of the challenging disorders in adults and have a significant risk of morbidity and often require lifestyle modification. They include tension neck syndrome, mechanical back syndrome, rotator cuff tendonitis, muscle strain, and De Quervain's syndrome.7 In a recent study on the global burden of diseases, LBP accounted for the most common disorder with years lived with disability (YLD), and osteoarthritis and neck pain also contributed significantly to the burden of disability.8 The burden of disability due to MSD could contribute to the utilisation of medical services which results in compromised quality of life (QOL).9 Therefore, MSDs are costly for employers worldwide that result in loss of productivity due to an increase in sick leaves, and also put employees of young age under financial burden associated with the cost of treatment.10

Although rapid technological advances and increased mechanisation in workplaces seem to reduce the burden on the human body, MSDs continue to be one of the most important disorders as a result of high-risk occupational tasks in different working environments in developed and developing countries. The current study was planned to determine the frequency of MSDs and to identify the risk factors that cause these problems in high-risk populations.

 

Subjects and Methods

 

The analytical cross-sectional study was conducted in Karachi from July to December 2020, after approval from the ethics review committee of Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Karachi, and comprised office workers, operation theatre (OT) technicians and coolies exposed to prolonged sitting for 8 hours or more per day,11 prolonged standing for 50% of the total working hours per day12 and those carrying heavy load approximately weighing >5kg on head, hand or shoulders at least 10 times per day on a daily basis. The sample was raised using -probability convenience quota sampling technique from among male workers aged >18 years exposed to any of the three high-risk occupations for at least 1 year and who gave informed consent before enrolment. These workers were approached at their workplaces, including private and public organisations, hospitals, and railway stations. The others were excluded. The sample size was calculated using Open-Epi calculator by taking MSD prevalence 75.8%13 with 95% confidence level and 5% bound on error. The sample size was inflated by 5% to adjust for non-response. Data was collected by the principal investigator using the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ), which is a validated tool used previously in several studies.6,14,15 The tool was piloted on 30 participants; 10 from each group, and its validity was reconfirmed.

Data was analysed using SPSS 20. Chi-square test was used where necessary. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for different study with 95% confidence interval (CI). Univariant and multivariant logistic regression was used to determine the factors associated with moderate to severe MSDs. P<0.05 was considered statistically significant. Those found to have severe MSD were referred to the relevant specialty.

 

Results

 

Of the 300 male subjects, 100(33.3%) each were office workers, OT technicians and coolies. The overall mean age was 33.25±6.8 years (range: 18-50 years), with 146(48.7%) aged 31-40 years (Table-1).

 

Among OT technicians, those who got longer durations of break time were significantly less likely to report MSDs (p=0.025) whereas those who used swayed back posture while standing were significantly more likely to have MSDs compared to those maintaining flat back posture (p=0.025). Among the coolies, the number of times weight lifted per day was also positively associated with MSDs (p<0.001) (Table-3).

 

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