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 'Exciting' discovery on path to develop new type of vaccine to treat global viruses
18.09.2017 | University of Southampton

nachricht A new approach to high insulin levels
18.09.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

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: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

IVAM’s LaserForum visits the Swiss canton of St. Gallen with the topic ultrashort pulse lasers

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Robust and functional – surface finishing by suspension spraying

19.09.2017 | Materials Sciences

The Wadden Sea and the Elbe Studied with Zeppelin, Drones and Research Ships

19.09.2017 | Earth Sciences

Digging sensors out of an efficiency hole

19.09.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>