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Ergonomic factors and musculoskeletal pain in sonographers

Gremark Simonsen, Jenny LU (2018)
Abstract
Background: Sonographers have a high risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Sonography involves strenuous postures in the neck and upper limbs, and is visually demanding. Echocardiography is especially challenging, with static postures and monotonous movements. Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to identify ergonomic risk factors for pain in sonographers, and to propose actions for sustainable work conditions. Method: At baseline a questionnaire on occupational factors and perceived pain was distributed to all female sonographers in Sweden (N=291). A qualitative interview was performed in a subgroup (N=22). The physical workload was assessed by technical measurements of postures, movements and muscular load in another subgroup (N=33),... (More)
Background: Sonographers have a high risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Sonography involves strenuous postures in the neck and upper limbs, and is visually demanding. Echocardiography is especially challenging, with static postures and monotonous movements. Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to identify ergonomic risk factors for pain in sonographers, and to propose actions for sustainable work conditions. Method: At baseline a questionnaire on occupational factors and perceived pain was distributed to all female sonographers in Sweden (N=291). A qualitative interview was performed in a subgroup (N=22). The physical workload was assessed by technical measurements of postures, movements and muscular load in another subgroup (N=33), comparing different tasks and different techniques for echocardiography. A follow up questionnaire concerning pain was distributed about 2.5 years after baseline. Results: At baseline neck/shoulder as well as elbow/hand pain were associated with computer related eye complaints, high mechanical exposure index (MEI) and high job demands. To perform echocardiography was associated with elbow/hand pain while transducer handling with a two-handed/alternating grip and straight wrist was associated with a low prevalence of elbow/hand pain. The patient´s comfort was often prioritised to the disadvantage of working posture. Suggested improvements included reducing the manual handling of the transducer and to alternate hands. Echocardiography was static with awkward wrist postures and a lack of forearm muscular rest. In comparison, none of the techniques explored was optimal. The prevalence of neck/shoulder pain increased during the follow up period. Computer related eye problems, high MEI, high job demands and pain at baseline predicted neck/shoulder pain at follow up in both regions. Full time work and high job demands were associated with a high incidence of pain during the follow up period, whereas full time work was associated with a low recovery of neck/shoulder pain. For elbows hands, high sensory demands and pain at baseline were predictors for pain at follow/up and high sensory demands were associated with a high incidence of pain during the follow up period. Conclusions: We recommend improved visual ergonomics and optimal adjustability of the equipment. For echocardiography, we recommend that the equipment should be arranged so that a variation in work postures is enabled, as none of the techniques was optimal. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Background: Sonographers have a high risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Sonography involves strenuous postures in the neck and upper limbs, and is visually demanding. Echocardiography is especially challenging, with static postures and monotonous movements. Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to identify ergonomic risk factors for pain in sonographers, and to propose actions for sustainable work conditions. Method: At baseline a questionnaire on occupational factors and perceived pain was distributed to all female sonographers in Sweden (N=291). A qualitative interview was performed in a subgroup (N=22). The physical workload was assessed by technical measurements of postures, movements and muscular load in another subgroup (N=33),... (More)
Background: Sonographers have a high risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Sonography involves strenuous postures in the neck and upper limbs, and is visually demanding. Echocardiography is especially challenging, with static postures and monotonous movements. Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to identify ergonomic risk factors for pain in sonographers, and to propose actions for sustainable work conditions. Method: At baseline a questionnaire on occupational factors and perceived pain was distributed to all female sonographers in Sweden (N=291). A qualitative interview was performed in a subgroup (N=22). The physical workload was assessed by technical measurements of postures, movements and muscular load in another subgroup (N=33), comparing different tasks and different techniques for echocardiography. A follow up questionnaire concerning pain was distributed about 2.5 years after baseline. Results: At baseline neck/shoulder as well as elbow/hand pain were associated with computer related eye complaints, high mechanical exposure index (MEI) and high job demands. To perform echocardiography was associated with elbow/hand pain while transducer handling with a two-handed/alternating grip and straight wrist was associated with a low prevalence of elbow/hand pain. The patient´s comfort was often prioritised to the disadvantage of working posture. Suggested improvements included reducing the manual handling of the transducer and to alternate hands. Echocardiography was static with awkward wrist postures and a lack of forearm muscular rest. In comparison, none of the techniques explored was optimal. The prevalence of neck/shoulder pain increased during the follow up period. Computer related eye problems, high MEI, high job demands and pain at baseline predicted neck/shoulder pain at follow up in both regions. Full time work and high job demands were associated with a high incidence of pain during the follow up period, whereas full time work was associated with a low recovery of neck/shoulder pain. For elbows hands, high sensory demands and pain at baseline were predictors for pain at follow/up and high sensory demands were associated with a high incidence of pain during the follow up period. Conclusions: We recommend improved visual ergonomics and optimal adjustability of the equipment. For echocardiography, we recommend that the equipment should be arranged so that a variation in work postures is enabled, as none of the techniques was optimal. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • professor Wulff Svendsen, Susanne, Arbejdsmedicinsk klinik, Herning, Danmark
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
pages
73 pages
publisher
Lund University: Faculty of Medicine
defense location
Segerfalksalen, BMC A10, Sölvegatan 17 i Lund
defense date
2018-04-26 09:00:00
ISBN
978-91-7619-607-6
language
English
LU publication?
yes
additional info
ISSN: 1652-8220 Lund University, Faculty of Medicine Doctoral Dissertation Series 2018:40
id
f3cc07ca-1843-4cb3-8ffe-12a1596dfd09
date added to LUP
2018-04-03 15:58:36
date last changed
2019-11-19 13:49:34
@phdthesis{f3cc07ca-1843-4cb3-8ffe-12a1596dfd09,
  abstract     = {Background: Sonographers have a high risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Sonography involves strenuous postures in the neck and upper limbs, and is visually demanding. Echocardiography is especially challenging, with static postures and monotonous movements. Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to identify ergonomic risk factors for pain in sonographers, and to propose actions for sustainable work conditions. Method: At baseline a questionnaire on occupational factors and perceived pain was distributed to all female sonographers in Sweden (N=291). A qualitative interview was performed in a subgroup (N=22). The physical workload was assessed by technical measurements of postures, movements and muscular load in another subgroup (N=33), comparing different tasks and different techniques for echocardiography. A follow up questionnaire concerning pain was distributed about 2.5 years after baseline. Results: At baseline neck/shoulder as well as elbow/hand pain were associated with computer related eye complaints, high mechanical exposure index (MEI) and high job demands. To perform echocardiography was associated with elbow/hand pain while transducer handling with a two-handed/alternating grip and straight wrist was associated with a low prevalence of elbow/hand pain. The patient´s comfort was often prioritised to the disadvantage of working posture. Suggested improvements included reducing the manual handling of the transducer and to alternate hands. Echocardiography was static with awkward wrist postures and a lack of forearm muscular rest. In comparison, none of the techniques explored was optimal. The prevalence of neck/shoulder pain increased during the follow up period. Computer related eye problems, high MEI, high job demands and pain at baseline predicted neck/shoulder pain at follow up in both regions. Full time work and high job demands were associated with a high incidence of pain during the follow up period, whereas full time work was associated with a low recovery of neck/shoulder pain. For elbows hands, high sensory demands and pain at baseline were predictors for pain at follow/up and high sensory demands were associated with a high incidence of pain during the follow up period. Conclusions: We recommend improved visual ergonomics and optimal adjustability of the equipment. For echocardiography, we recommend that the equipment should be arranged so that a variation in work postures is enabled, as none of the techniques was optimal.},
  author       = {Gremark Simonsen, Jenny},
  isbn         = {978-91-7619-607-6},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Lund University: Faculty of Medicine},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Ergonomic factors and musculoskeletal pain in sonographers},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/files/41001565/jennys_hela_avh_G5_4.4.2018.pdf},
  year         = {2018},
}