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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 75-78

Managerial work, exercise, smoking, and gender as determinants of neck and shoulder pain in office workers


1 Occupational Health Unit, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Orthopedics, Dammam Medical Complex, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication6-Jun-2017

Correspondence Address:
Sultan T Al-Otaibi
University of Dammam, P.O. Box: 2208, Al-Khobar 31952
Saudi Arabia
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DOI: 10.4103/1319-6308.207572

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  Abstract 

Background: Musculoskeletal diseases involving the neck and shoulder regions are the most common occupational disorders around the world.
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the determinants of neck and shoulder pain among office workers within two worksites in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Subjects and Methods: A validated standardized questionnaire was distributed to Saudi Aramco employees on May 2006 who were performing office job that used computers for a majority of their daily work. The statistical analysis was performed using the SPSS version 15.
Results: The study population included 581 office workers, 466 were male (80.2%) and 115 were female (19.8%). Adjusted odds ratio (OR) of neck and shoulder pain during the past 7 days for managerial jobs was 2.16 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.81–5.78). Adjusted OR of neck and shoulder pain during the past 12 months for managerial job was 5.21 (95% CI: 1.52–7.81). The crude OR of neck and shoulder pain ever for managerial job was 1.58 (95% CI: 1.04–2.49), and when this was adjusted for the two determinants of interest and the covariates resulted in an OR of 1.61 (95% CI: 1.02–2.66). The adjusted OR of neck and shoulder pain, for no exercises and smoking and for being women, was statically significant.
Conclusion: Office workers in managerial jobs experience more symptoms of neck and shoulder pain compared with workers in nonmanagerial positions. The result also indicated that moderate or regular exercise reduces these symptoms. Smokers and being women experience more neck and shoulder pain.

Keywords: Neck, office, pain, shoulder, workers


How to cite this article:
Al-Huthail I, Al-Otaibi ST, Al-Zahrani AS. Managerial work, exercise, smoking, and gender as determinants of neck and shoulder pain in office workers. Saudi J Sports Med 2017;17:75-8

How to cite this URL:
Al-Huthail I, Al-Otaibi ST, Al-Zahrani AS. Managerial work, exercise, smoking, and gender as determinants of neck and shoulder pain in office workers. Saudi J Sports Med [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 Aug 20];17:75-8. Available from: http://www.sjosm.org/text.asp?2017/17/2/75/207572


  Introduction Top


Musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs) involving the neck and shoulder regions are the most common occupational disorders around the world.[1] MSDs include a variety of clinical disorders such as nerve compression or entrapment, tendon inflammations and related conditions, muscle inflammations, and degenerative joint disease. MSDs also include less well-standardized conditions such as myositis, fibromyalgia, and occupational dystonia, as well as regional, sometimes poorly localized pain and paresthesia not attributable to other pathologies.[2] MSDs and related soft-tissue disorders may affect any part of the upper extremity such as neck and shoulders. Individual, physical, and psychosocial factors, both from work and leisure time, have been identified as being associated with neck and shoulder pain disorders.[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9]

Previous studies had shown that symptoms of neck and shoulder pain were high among office workers involved in computer usage.[10],[11],[12]

Studies of computer work had, to a large extent, focused on risk factors for the development of MSDs symptoms, including daily duration of computer work, repetitive movements, static and nonneutral wrist, arm, and neck work postures in addition to psychosocial factors.[13],[14]

Most of the previous studies of computer users had concentrated on secretarial and clerical workers who received training in typing as part of their general training. On the other hand, there had been increase in computer usage by managerial staff to perform their work efficiently while they had no formal training in computer use and they lack typing skills. There is little research done on this population (managerial workers) of computer usage.

The objective of this study was to investigate the determinants of neck and shoulder pain among office workers within two worksites in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


  Subjects and Methods Top


Participants for this study were office workers from two workplaces (Riyadh and Dhahran) at Saudi Aramco in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on May 2006. The aim of sampling was to include a range of office workers whose daily work included the use of computer at least 2 h/day. Human resources within the two sites were verbally agreed to identify these target groups of employees. Participants with a previous injury of the neck or shoulders due to an accident were excluded from this study. Questionnaires were distributed to 1000 employees from managerial positions (manager, supervisors, and team leaders) and nonmanagerial jobs (clerical, secretarial, and others). Information on the outcomes was based on questions of the Nordic questionnaire.[15] All questions in the questionnaire had been previously validated, so piloting was not considered necessary. The questionnaire was attached to a cover letter which explained and clarified the aim of the study. It was clearly pointed out that the participation is voluntary, and the information that he or she provided through the questionnaire would be treated with confidentiality and anonymity.

The health outcomes of interest were neck and shoulder pain which were defined as ache, pain, or discomfort in neck and shoulders for past 7 days and past 12 months and ever. Type of work was the main determinant of interest where information on the type of job was collected using a question “What is your job title and what are your work duties?” In particular, managerial job, as job titles and work duties, was contrasted to nonmanagerial job. Frequency of physical exercise and smoking was collected using questions and considered as additional determinants of neck and shoulder pain.

Body mass index (BMI) using the formula: BMI = (weight in kilograms/(height in meters) × (height in meters), and these were classified in three categories (BMI <25, 25–30, and >30). The associations were assessed by Chi-square tests where odds ratio (OR) was used as a measure of association. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the adjusted ORs. The adjustment was conducted for the following covariates: age, sex, and BMI. Confidence intervals (CIs) for the estimates were calculated at the 95% level. The analysis was performed using the SPSS version 15 (SPSS Inc. Chicago, IL, USA).


  Results Top


Six hundred and fifty-three employees out of 1000 completed the questionnaire giving a response rate of 65.3% while 72 workers were excluded from the analysis as they do not meet the criteria of inclusion in this study.

Five hundred and eighty-one participants were included in the analysis, and these cases were composed of 466 men (80.2%) and 115 women (19.8%).

Among the respondents, there were 72 managers (12.4%), 82 supervisors (14.1%), 83 team leaders (14.2%), 67 clerks (11.5%), 86 secretaries (14.8%), and 191 in other positions (32.9%). Their mean age was 36.12 years ± 9.2 with minimum age of 24 and maximum age of 56 years.

Both the managerial workers and nonmanagerial workers were comparable in terms of age, sex, and BMI.

[Table 1] shows adjusted OR of neck and shoulder pain during the past 7 days for managerial jobs was 2.16 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.81–5.78) and for lack of exercise 1.74 (95% CI: 1.04–6.14). The adjusted OR of neck and shoulder pain during the past 7 days for current smoking was 2.67 (95% CI: 1.07–6.67) and for ex-smoking 1.76 (95% CI: 0.35–8.75). The effect estimate for women was 3.07 (95% CI: 1.09–8.65).
Table 1: Managerial jobs, exercise, smoking, and gender as determinants of neck and shoulder pain during past 7 days

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[Table 2] shows adjusted OR of neck and shoulder pain during the past 12 months for managerial job was 5.21 (95% CI: 1.52–7.81). The adjusted OR of neck and shoulder pain during the last 12 months for no exercise was 1.55 (95% CI: 1.05–5.28). The adjusted OR for current smoking was 3.02 (95% CI: 1.11–6.24) and for women adjusted OR was 4.79 (95% CI: 1.57–8.63).
Table 2: Managerial job, exercise, smoking, and gender as determinants of neck and shoulder pain during past 12 months

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[Table 3] shows that the crude OR of neck and shoulder pain ever for managerial job was 1.58 (95% CI: 1.04–2.49), and when this was adjusted for the two determinants of interest and the covariates resulted in an OR of 1.61 (95% CI: 1.02–2.66). The adjusted OR for no exercise was 1.85 (95% CI: 1.12–3.55). The adjusted OR of neck and shoulder pain ever for current smokers was 1.39 (95% CI: 1.10–2.28) and for ex-smokers 2.05 (95% CI: 1.00–4.62) and for women adjusted OR was 1.59 (95% CI: 1.04–2.92).
Table 3: Managerial job, exercise, smoking, and gender as determinants of neck and shoulder pain ever

Click here to view



  Discussion Top


To the best of our knowledge, this is the first epidemiological study focusing on neck and shoulder pain of office workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The results showed that workers in managerial positions experience more symptoms of neck and shoulder pain. This is believed to be due to poor typing skills with long time spent in position of neck flexion and also due to stress level and workstation factors among these workers.[16]

Exercise had favorable influence on these symptoms while no exercise was related to increase risk of neck and shoulder pain. Furthermore, smoking was identified as a determinant of these symptoms. The findings of lack of exercise and smoking in this study as an important determinant of neck and shoulder pain were in line with other studies.[17],[18],[19] Neck and shoulder pain were higher among women than men, and this is consistent with the finding of previous studies in this area.[20],[21]


  Conclusion Top


The findings of this study provide evidence that office workers in managerial jobs experience more symptoms of neck and shoulder pain compared with workers in nonmanagerial positions. The result also indicated that moderate or regular exercise reduces these symptoms. Smokers seem to experience more neck and shoulder pain. Finally, these results show clearly that neck and shoulder pain are more common in women than men. Further research is needed to clarify the importance of typing skills and workstation factors in the prevention of neck and shoulder pain among managerial staff using computer.

As with other cross-sectional studies, this study is susceptible to survivor bias because it assesses prevalent rather than incident cases, and it did not take into account people who have left the job or had injuries.

There is a possibility that individuals with symptoms were more willing to participate than those without symptoms; therefore, participant selection is not truly random.

While studies of pain relay on self-report, the results may be distorted if the participants are asked to recall pain from the past in particular for those participants with neck and shoulder pain ever.

English was the first language for some participants; it was not for others and hence they may have difficulty in understanding the questions, and they were encouraged to ask if they do not understand a question.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

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