Musculoskeletal complaints among female service workers: Risk factors for development of shoulder and neck pain in occupations with psychosocial stress and low biomechanical load
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Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are an increasing problem in Norway. In 2001 musculoskeletal disorders constituted 49% of the registered sick-leave (Rikstrygdeverket 2002). The same year about one-third of new incidences of disability pension were caused by musculoskeletal disorders (Rikstrygdeverket 2002). In Sweden musculoskeletal disorders constituted 62% of the registered sick leave in 2000. For both men and women shoulder and neck were the most affected body part (Official statistics of Sweden 2002). The prevalence of these disorders varies between occupations (Hagberg and Wegman 1987). They are more frequent among women than men, and this gender difference is especially evident for shoulder and neck pain (Hagberg and Wegman 1987; Ihlebæk et al. 2002). Prevalences from 31% to 76% for shoulder and neck complaints have been reported for occupations mainly employing women like health care, office work, sales work and cashier work (Ando et al. 2000; Brulin et al. 1998b; Lagerström et al. 1995; Lundberg et al. 1999; Marcus and Gerr 1996; Skov et al. 1996; Takala et al. 1992; Trinkoff et al. 2002). Musculoskeletal disorders do not only affect the life-quality and income of the individual, but also constitute high costs for the society. In 1998 expenditure for disability pension and sickness benefit due to musculoskeletal problems constituted ~20 billion NOK (NOU 2000:27). This does not include the costs of rehabilitation and loss of production for the companies.