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Studies are always trying to shed more and more light upon the question of joint pain, and the different contributing factors. In a recent article in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases by Bone and Tooper, looked at how prolonged exposure to repetitive activity at work contributes specifically to shoulder pain. In their study, they noted that population based studies suggest a lifetime prevalence of over 70 percent for neck and shoulder pain.
They found that shoulder pain was second only to back pain in workers’ compensation insurance claims. Their study also found that the risk of developing shoulder pain when starting a new job is related to the amount of over-the-head lifting and the monotonous nature of the work. They concluded that shoulder pain is a common problem among working age adults and is a large contributor to sick leave.
The study was able to identify some of the workplace factors that contribute to shoulder pain. The researchers were able to identify prolonged abnormal posture and repetition as significant contributors to shoulder pain. They also noted that more recent studies have considered the psycho-social influences such as monotony of work and the amount of stress might also contribute to shoulder pain.
In their conclusions, they call for more studies looking at psycho-social stressors as wells as repetative movement and how it can be modified in order to prevent further injuries to the shoulder in the workplace setting. Such a finding could greatly benefit the 70% of the population that suffers from some sort of work-induced joint pain.
Michael Carroll, MD is a board certified family physician with a special interest in sports medicine. He is the founding partner of Creekside Clinic, LLC, a progressive primary care center in Traverse City, Michigan and a member of both the American College of Sports Medicine, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.