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, 42 (1), 108-16

Clinical and Functional Aspects of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Active Workers


Clinical and Functional Aspects of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Active Workers

Isabel A P Walsh et al. Rev Saude Publica.


Objective: To evaluate musculoskeletal disorders among active industrial workers.

Methods: The study was carried out in São Carlos, Southeastern Brazil, in 2005. One hundred and thirty-four female workers were physically evaluated and answered questions about their physical symptoms, filled out a pain scale and gave responses in the Oswestry Disability Questionnaire, and the Work Ability Index questionnaire. The data were analyzed descriptively, and in correlation tests and through applying logistic regression. The outcome was evaluated in relation to the perceptions of pain, symptoms, physical assessment, ability to work and disability.

Results: Clinical evaluations and sick leave presented positive correlations with the subjective variables. The Work Ability Index presented a negative correlation with the physical disability index (r=-0.69). Symptoms reported at the time of the assessment presented a good correlation with the results from the pain scale and the clinical findings. Previous sick leave showed an association with disability (OR=1.13; 95% CI:1.08;1.18).

Conclusion: Symptom reports and pain scales may be useful for assessing current conditions at the time of evaluating individuals with work-related musculoskeletal disorders, as they are easier to apply. In more severe cases of such injuries, clinical and functional evaluations and questionnaires such as those relating to ability to work and disability are preferable. Precise and specific evaluations of these disorders may contribute towards fairer legal and administrative decisions.

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