Prevalence and impact of musculoskeletal disorders of the upper limb in the general population


Walker-Bone, Karen, Palmer, Keith T., Reading, Isabel, Coggon, David and Cooper, Cyrus (2004) Prevalence and impact of musculoskeletal disorders of the upper limb in the general population. Arthritis Care & Research, 51, (4), 642-651. (doi:10.1002/art.20535).

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Original Publication URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.20535

Description/Abstract

Objective: To determine the prevalence, interrelation, and impact of musculoskeletal disorders of the upper limb in the general population.

Methods: A total of 9,696 randomly selected adults of working age were surveyed in a 2-stage cross-sectional study involving a screening questionnaire and a standardized physical examination in symptomatic subjects. Age- and sex-specific prevalence rates were estimated for several musculoskeletal disorders and for nonspecific pain in the upper limbs. The overlap and impact on daily activities and healthcare utilization were explored.

Results: Among 6,038 first-stage responders, 3,152 reported upper limb symptoms and 1,960 were subsequently examined. Of subjects with pain, 44.8% had 1 or more specific soft-tissue disorders. Site-specific prevalence rates were as follows: shoulder tendinitis 4.5% among men and 6.1% among women; adhesive capsulitis 8.2% among men and 10.1% among women; lateral epicondylitis 1.3% among men and 1.1% among women; de Quervain's disease 0.5% among men and 1.3% among women; other tenosynovitis of the hand or wrist, 1.1% among men and 2.2% among women. Specific disorders tended to cluster (P < 0.001) in individuals, with particular overlap at the shoulder. Compared with subjects with nonspecific pain, those with specific disorders more often reported inability to perform everyday tasks (P < 0.05), consultation with a doctor (P < 0.05), and use of prescribed medication (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Upper limb pain is common in the general population and is often associated with physical signs suggestive of specific upper-limb disorders. These disorders have a substantial impact on physical function and use of health care.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0004-3591 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: epidemiology, upper limb disorders, soft-tissue rheumatism, prevalence, impact
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine > Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine > Community Clinical Sciences
ePrint ID: 24543
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2006
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:13
Contact Email Address: cc@mrc.soton.ac.uk
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/24543

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