An assessment of neck and upper extremity disorders by questionnaire and clinical examination

Ergonomics. 1994 May;37(5):891-7. doi: 10.1080/00140139408963698.


To study the usefulness of a screening questionnaire for neck/upper extremity complaints, 165 women in either repetitive industrial, or mobile and varied work, were studied by the questionnaire and by a detailed clinical physical examination. A total of 94 subjects recorded complaints in the questionnaire. In 140 subjects findings were recorded at the examination. Most subjects with findings at the clinical examination of shoulders reported complaints in the questionnaire (sensitivity 80%). For the other anatomical regions, the sensitivity was rather low (42-65%). For all regions, most subjects without findings reported no complaints (specificity 77-97%). A total of 75 subjects were given clinical diagnoses according to a set of predetermined diagnostic criteria. The capacity of the questionnaire to identify diagnoses of shoulders was higher (sensitivity 92%) than for the other regions (66-79%). Of subjects who did not qualify for diagnosis, a majority (specificity 71-81%) did not report complaints in the questionnaire. We conclude that the questionnaire approach gives a fairly good picture of the neck/upper extremity status of a working female population. However, a clear view of the size of a problem is obtained only by a detailed clinical examination, particularly as regards the neck, elbows and hands, for which the questionnaire gave an underestimate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Neck*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires