Impact of physical exposure on neck and upper limb disorders in female workers

Appl Ergon. 2000 Jun;31(3):301-10. doi: 10.1016/s0003-6870(99)00047-2.


Physical workload [muscular load of the trapezius and infraspinatus muscles using electromyography (EMG), wrist positions and movements by electrogoniometers] and neck and upper limb disorders (from, for example, a physical examination) were studied in women with repetitive industrial work (n = 95) and referents (n = 74). The repetitive work displayed higher ratings for wrist movements, but not for EMG. The prevalences of neck, shoulder and wrist/hand disorders were elevated for women with repetitive work [age-adjusted prevalence odds ratios (PORs) 2.0-7.5]. For the left hand, high frequency of wrist movements (mean power frequency 0.53 Hz) was associated with a high prevalence of disorders (56%), as compared to low (0.28 Hz and 26%; POR 3.5). We found no consistent and significant effect of muscular load, on either neck or shoulder disorders. However, selection and other bias may have diminished our possibility to observe such effects. Psychosocial work environment factors were not confounding the results. Measurements of wrist movements may be used for identification of high-risk work tasks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Neck
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric