Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Women at Least Twice as Likely To Get Some Musculoskeletal Disorders

23.07.2004


Women are at least twice as likely as men to develop some musculoskeletal disorders of the upper body. That’s the finding of scientists at Ohio State University who re-analyzed data from 56 previous studies on the subject.



This new work, though it did not yield specific incidence rates for different disorders, gives researchers a critical baseline for comparing gender differences in the prevalence of disorders of the neck, shoulders, arms, and hands.

Until now, some researchers suspected that women only appear to have a higher incidence of these disorders because they are more likely than men to admit that they are in pain and get treatment. Others thought the gender difference was due to a greater exposure to certain risk factors for women.


Delia Treaster, a former doctoral student at Ohio State, conducted this research with Deborah Burr, assistant professor of epidemiology and biometrics. They performed a statistical analysis of previous studies to remove factors that could have skewed the results either way. They described their findings in a recent issue of the journal Ergonomics.

When they accounted for factors such as a person’s age, occupation, and whether the person reported their disorder themselves or whether it was clinically diagnosed, they were surprised to find that the gender difference still remained.

“Any way you slice the data, women have a significantly higher prevalence –- anywhere from two to ten, even eleven times higher than men -- for many of these disorders,” Treaster said. “The question now is, why? Is it biomechanical, physiological, psychological, or what? Most likely, it is due to a combination of factors.”

Burr cautioned women to be aware that they could develop these disorders, especially as they grow older. “Women should talk to their doctors about it, and doctors should look out for it,” she said.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. One 1998 study found that 15 percent of the American working population suffered one or more MSDs, and that this rate could increase to 18 percent within the next 30 years.

Researchers believe that doing highly repetitive or physically stressful work can cause MSDs. There can be psychological and social factors as well. William Marras, a professor of industrial, welding, and systems engineering and director of the Biodynamics Laboratory at Ohio State, had previously linked high performance pressure and job dissatisfaction to low back pain, the most common MSD.

This latest study focused on upper-body disorders other than back pain, the highest-profile of which is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). For sufferers of CTS, a nerve in the wrist becomes irritated, causing pain and numbness in the hands.

As the Ohio State scientists reviewed studies from 13 countries, they found much data concerning CTS in the United States, while most European studies focused on shoulder and neck disorders.

“Now the pendulum is swinging the other way -- neck and shoulder pain is becoming a hot issue here, and European scientists are becoming interested in carpal tunnel,” Treaster said.

MSDs can be difficult to diagnose, she added. Doctors can perform clinical tests for CTS, but for neck and shoulder disorders “all you have to go on is whether someone is in pain, and pain is so subjective.”

The conventional wisdom is that men do physically demanding work such as heavy lifting that makes them more susceptible to back problems, while women do the fine, repetitive work that can lead to neck, shoulder, and wrist problems. But this new study showed that women were more likely than men to develop MSDs even when they have the same job.

To Treaster, the study underscores the need to prevent MSDs from happening in the first place. One way to do that is through better workplace design, equipment selection, and work practices. “This is yet another gender difference that will have to be taken into account,” she said.

Treaster is a professional ergonomist currently helping the United States Post Office implement the ergonomics in its distribution centers. Burr has no immediate plans to continue this research, though she says she might like to further analyze the data and compute more detailed incidence rates for individual disorders.

| newswise
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>