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 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

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: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>