The prevalence and factors associated with occupational overuse syndrome in the hands and wrists of chiropractors in South Africa
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The aim was to evaluate the prevalence of hand and wrist pain, as well as the relationships between occupational overuse syndromes in the hands and wrists of chiropractors in South Africa as a result of their daily use of manual therapy techniques while at work. There are very few statistics available that disclose the nature and incidence of work related injuries. However those statistics that do exist suggest that hands on patient activities place physical therapists at greater risk of injury in comparison to other health care workers (Lunne et al., 2000). A study conducted by Bork et al.(1996) determined the prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal injuries sustained by physical therapists. Hand pain (29.6%) and back pain (45%) where the leading cause of pain in physical therapists (Bork et al., 1996.) Chiropractic and physiotherapy are both health care professions that specialize in the treatment of disorders pertaining to the neuro-musculo-skeletal system (Hunter, 2004). Physical therapists use manual therapy techniques as part of their daily working activities, so it can be assumed that chiropractors too will have a high prevalence of hand and wrist pain as they utilize similar therapeutic techniques to physical therapists. Cromie et al.(2000) evaluated the prevalence, severity, risks, and responses of disorders in physical therapists. He identified 4 categories of major risk factors commonly associated with workers musculo-skeletal disorders in physical therapists 1. Risk factors related to specific activities. 2. Postural risk factors. 3. Risk factors with regard to work load issues 4. Risk factors in regard of work capacity and health of the participant (Cromie et al., 2000). Physical risk factors found to be associated with neck, shoulder, or hand and wrist disorders in cross sectional studies are heavy lifting, monotonous work, static work postures, vibrations and repetitive jobs, and a high work pace (Alfredsson et al., 1999). Other factors that have been associated with musculoskeletal pain are higher age and female gender (de Zwart et al., 2001; Wahlstedt et al., 2001; Feveile et al., 2002).