Musculoskeletal Pain among Health Care Staff : Riskfactors for Pain, Disability and Sick leave

Abstract: The present thesis is based on four empirical studies concerning risk factors related to musculoskeletal pain (MSP), disability, and sick leave among three non-clinical samples of health care staff. Initially, in Study I, cognitive, behavioural and environmental factors related to MSP of nurses' aides were explored. An experimental design including baseline, intervention and follow-ups among 29 nurses' aides working in a home for the elderly was used to evaluate effects of a workplace intervention based on cognitive behaviour (CB)- and conventional, symptom reduction principles. In Study II, a cross-sectional and correlational design was applied. A self-administered questionnaire was used to describe and investigate the relationship between risk factors and development of persistent pain, sick leave and long sick leave among 914 municipal health care staff. In Study III and IV, a longitudinal design was used among 200 registered nurses (RN) working in a county hospital to describe and predict pain, disability and sick leave. Data collection involved two self-administered questionnaires covering: 1) work and personal factors, pain, disability and sick leave at baseline and 2) valued life dimensions at baseline. The results showed that MSP was common among the staff. Study I showed positive effects among nurses' aides receiving the CB principles related to MSP compared with nurses' aides receiving the conventional principles. In Study II, pain severity and expectations to be working in 6 months were associated with persistent MSP and sick leave, respectively. In Study III, pain, disability and sick leave at baseline were the strongest predictors of pain, disability and sick leave at the three-year follow-up. In Study IV, the findings support the notion that individual values in different life domains are possible predictors of pain and disability.