Content » Vol 33, Issue 5

Women at work despite ill health: Diagnoses and pain before and after personnel support - A prospective study of hospital cleaners/home-help personnel with comparison groups

B. J. Landstad, K. Schüldt, J. Ekholm, L. Broman, A. Bergroth
DOI: 10.1080/165019701750419617


The present study sought to elicit the diagnoses behind the pain conditions causing complaints by female hospital cleaners and home-help personnel who were working despite their symptoms. We also wished to describe the prevalence of musculoskeletal diagnoses and the intensity, frequency and location of pain, and changes in the clinical picture and pain after personnel supporting interventions. A prospective study was carried out with intervention groups and non-randomized comparison groups. The hospital cleaners intervention programme comprised occupational organizational measures, competence development, physical and psychosocial working environmental measures and individual and rehabilitation measures on both an individual and a group basis. The home-help programme comprised a 2-week stay at an orthopaedic rehabilitation unit, training of supervisors, comrade massage, purchase of training equipment and stress management. Myalgia/tendinitis occurred in 61% of shoulder girdle elevators, 18% of rotator cuffs, 16% of dorsal neck muscles and 29% of hip muscles. There was musculoskeletal pain in the lower back in 28% of cases. Referred pain from a musculoskeletal focus occurred in about one-sixth to one-third of individuals with the diagnosis in question. Neurogenic pain occurred in 6% of cases. No fibromyalgia syndrome was found. One-third of individuals felt pain all the time or almost all the time. The mean rated perceived "worst pain" was 70 mm on a visual analogue scale of 1-100 mm. Comparisons between intervention and reference groups indicated that some improvement in the clinical picture can be attained using this kind of general support programme for employees.

Lay Abstract


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