Objective: To study the prevalence of upper extremity disorders (UEDs) and neck as a total and complaints of the arm, neck and/or shoulder (CANS) not caused by acute trauma or any systemic disease as defined in the CANS model in the open population and to assess sociodemographic and health characteristics of chronic symptoms.
Methods: Data were obtained from the DMC3-study, a Dutch questionnaire survey on musculoskeletal conditions (>25 y, n=3664). Data on four anatomic sites were assessed: neck, shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Various health characteristics were measured including the Short Form-36. Rectangle diagrams were used to illustrate cooccurrence of pain in the four anatomic sites.
Results: The 12-month prevalence of CANS was 36.8%, the point prevalence was 26.4%, and 19.0% patients reported chronic CANS. Women, aged 45 to 64 years, with the lowest education level and working were the most affected. Within those with UEDs, around 25% of cases were caused by an acute trauma or by some systemic disease. Of those with chronic CANS, 58% reported use of healthcare. Healthcare users scored worse on general health, limitations in daily living, pain, and sickness absence than nonhealthcare users; >43% reported symptoms in more than 1 anatomic site.
Discussion: UEDs and CANS frequently occur in the open population. Excluding acute traumas and systemic diseases reduced the prevalence of CANS and resulted in a relatively healthier population. A compound definition of CANS seems indicated because of the large overlap of affected anatomic sites.