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Physical and psychosocial work-related risk factors associated with neck-shoulder discomfort in male and female music teachers

Anncristine Fjellman-Wiklund, Christine Brulin, Gunnevi Sundelin
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 18 Number 1: Page 33 (March 2003)

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Abstract: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the relationship between individual, physical, and psychosocial aspects of the work environment and musculoskeletal discomfort in the neck-shoulder region, in male and female music teachers. A questionnaire was distributed by mail that was based on the Standardised Nordic Questionnaire on work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) and the demand-control-support questionnaire on psychosocial work factors. The questionnaire included additional items on playing habits, weekly amount of performing and practice time, physical exercise during leisure time, perceived general health, and physical workload. The study population consisted of all music teachers employed at all 23 municipality music schools in the northern region of Sweden. Out of 287 music teachers, 208 (72.5%) agreed to participate, 88 women and 120 men. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to examine the role of exposure factors in relation to the risk of discomfort in the neck-shoulder area. All analyses were performed separately for women and men, adjusting for age. Of the total number of participants, 82% reported that they had experienced discomfort during the preceding 12 months. The female teachers reported significantly more symptoms in the neck (p = 0.02), the shoulders (p = 0.02), and the upper back (p = 0.00) compared with the male teachers. In the multiple logistic regression analyses, neck-shoulder discomfort during the previous seven-day period was associated with both physical and psychosocial work factors. The risk association patterns were different between the female and male music teachers. The strongest risk factors for women were high psychological demands (OR 6.0, CI 1.1-32.4) and teaching at many schools (OR 4.8, CI 1.0-24.4). For men, lifting (OR 8.7, CI 2.1-34.8), playing the guitar (OR 6.0, CI 1.5-23.6), and low social support (OR 3.1, CI 1.0-9.7) were the strongest risk factors.

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