A. Al-Harthi1, H. Al-Sobayel2, A. Albarrati2, F. Aljowair1
1Prince Sultan Military Medical City, Physical Therapy Department, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2King Saud University, Department of Health Rehabilitation Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Background: Chronic neck pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders among healthcare workers with different specialties, several studies investigated its prevalence among certain healthcare occupations such as dental professionals, ophthalmology and others. Recently, technological and digital revolutions are rapidly changing the nature of the work worldwide which has been linked to increasing prevalence of chronic neck pain among workers. The close relationship between the cervical region, biomechanics of the chest wall and respiration has been explored. Some studies investigated the chronic neck pain in relation to respiration which reflected a significant correlation between chronic neck pain and some respiratory function measures such as respiratory muscle strength. To our knowledge, no studies have been examined in these correlations among healthcare workers.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the correlation between cervical posture and the respiratory function measures among healthcare workers with chronic neck pain.

Methods: A convenience sample of healthcare workers was recruited from Prince Sultan Military Medical City in Riyadh (n = 30). Chronic neck pain and its related manifestations such as disability and cervical posture were evaluated using the Numerical Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) for usual pain intensity, Neck Disability Index (NDI) for disability, and forward head posture (FHP) and upper cervical angle (UCA) for cervical posture. The respiratory function measures were assessed using a portable MicroRPM Respiratory Pressure Meter to measure respiratory muscle strength. In addition, breathing dysfunction was self-reported using the Nijmegen Questionnaire (NQ) which used to classify those who had respiratory distress.

Results: A total of thirty participants (24 Females, 6 Males), aged between 20 -60 years with (mean age±SD, 34 ± 6.8y) having chronic neck pain. About 70% of them were categorized as mild reported neck disability on NDI. The pain intensity (NPRS) (5.10±1.81) correlated positively with neck pain & disability (NDI) (20.25 ±9.73) (r =0.64, n=30, p< 0.01) and dysfunctional breathing symptoms (NQ) (13.93± 8.67) (r = 0.45, n=30, p<0.05). The pain intensity (NPRS) (5.10±1.81) correlated negatively with respiratory muscle strength (MIP) (73.63±21.22), (r =-0.43, n=30, p< 0.05), (MEP) (71.07±24.89), (r = -0.56, n=30, P<0.01) and SNIP (54.67±21.74), (r = -0.36, n=30, P=0.05). With respect to cervical posture, a FHP was positively correlated with the MEP (r = 0.39, n=30, p<0.05) in the resting position, and correlated with MIP (r = 0.47, n=30, p<0.01), and MEP (r = 0.51, n=30, p<0.01) in the protracted position. Upper cervical extension range was negatively correlated with the MEP (r = - 0.39, n=30, p<0.05) and positively correlated with the NQ (r = 0.41, n=30, p<0.05).

Conclusion(s): This study demonstrated a significant relationship between chronic neck pain and its associated clinical manifestations such as related disability and cervical posture with respiratory muscle strength and breathing dysfunction.

Implications: Given this relationship, further studies would be of interest to investigate whether the provision of ergonomic advice and other interventions can impact on the chronic neck pain, cervical posture and respiratory function measures of healthcare workers with chronic neck pain.

Funding, acknowledgements: None

Keywords: Cervical posture, Healthcare workers, Respiratory function measures

Topic: Occupational health & ergonomics

Did this work require ethics approval? Yes
Institution: King Saud University (KSU) / Prince Sultan Military Medical City (PSMMC)
Committee: Research Ethics Committee
Ethics number: Ethics No.: CAMS 057-3839 from KSU/ Project No. 1032 from PSMMC

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

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