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 Inselspital: Fewer CT scans needed after cerebral bleeding
20.03.2019 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Building blocks for new medications: the University of Graz is seeking a technology partner
19.03.2019 | Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

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: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets

22.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>