Background: There is a high prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among healthcare professional students. Although recent studies show musculoskeletal disorders are a common problem among X-ray technologists, there are no data on these disorders among students of this healthcare profession. We have therefore estimated the prevalence of musculoskeletal complaints among a group of X-ray technology students.
Methods: The students (n = 109) currently attending the 3-year X-ray technologist school at a large University in the Apulia region of Southern Italy were recruited for the study, with a 100% participation rate. A questionnaire collected data concerning personal characteristics, physical exposure during training activities, and the presence of musculoskeletal symptoms in the neck, shoulders, low back, hand/wrist and legs.
Results: The prevalence of complaints in any body site over the previous 12 months was 37%. Low back pain was the most frequently reported symptom (27%), followed by neck (16%), shoulder (11%), leg (8%) and hand/wrist (5%) pain. Poor physical activity was associated with the complaints.
Conclusions: Our study showed prevalence rates of musculoskeletal complaints among X-ray technology students to be somewhat high, representing about half of those found in Italian technologists. The most common musculoskeletal problem was low back pain, which had also been found in research conducted among nursing students. Our research also showed a significant association between poor physical activity and the presence of musculoskeletal disorders in young university students.