K.C. Bairapareddy1, V. Raigangar2, M. Tamim3, R.T. Hussein3, N.M. Elkordy4, A.O. Mohamed4, A.H. Alnuwaiser4, M.B. Fazeli4, S.N. Aldafrawi4
1College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Physiotherapy, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 2University of Sharjah, Physiotherapy, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 3College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, U.A.E, Physiotherapy, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 4college of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Physiotherapy, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Background: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are responsible for morbidity in working population with increasing healthcare cost, reduced productivity, and decreased quality of life. The University of Sharjah has a big number of administrative staff who work uninterrupted long hours on the computer for preparing e-learning materials, administrative work, research activities, and other related tasks. During this eight-hour workday, they are exposed to occupational hazards such as high workload, intense working pace often without pauses for rest combined with high stress and demand levels. WMSD’s may include all forms ranging from mild, temporary disorders to irreversible and disabling injuries. Studying the prevalence and risk factors of these WMSDs may provide valuable insights to preventing injuries and loss of productivity in this population.

Purpose: This study aimed to identify the risk factors that lead to WMSDs in the University of Sharjah administrative staff and study the influence of WMSDs on reported productivity and health related quality of life.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was done on administrative staff between 20-45 years working for at least four hours per day for more than one year. Ethical approval was obtained from the Research and Ethics committee at the University of Sharjah. Those staff members with chronic pain syndromes and spinal or congenital abnormalities were excluded from the study. A risk factor questionnaire (consisting of 35 questions) which was prepared and validated by experts was used. Also, the short form-36 (SF-36) was used to evaluate the health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) Software, version 21.

Results: A total of 80 staff with a mean age of 33±9 years and mean screen time of 6.5±1.5 hours per day filled the survey. Risk factor analysis showed that neck pain was the most prevalent risk factor (50%) followed by back pain (33%) while the remaining experienced wrist, hip, knee or ankle pain. Further examination revealed neck flexion to be the main posture adopted by those who reported neck pain. Furthermore, a significant difference was seen in the all the domains of the SF-36 (p < 0.05) in participants with WMSD'S as compared to those participants with no pain.

Conclusion(s): Neck pain is the most prevalent WMSD in administrative staff, especially those who worked uninterrupted for a long duration. HRQoL was also impaired in those with WMSDs. Awareness combined with education campaigns may help mitigate the risk factors and contribute to preventing injuries in this population.

Implications: These studies help to highlight areas of education and change needed in everyday life of the working population and the importance of rests and breaks. Furthermore, these provide a base to build work policies for these administrative workers to enable shifts or better ergonomic solutions.  

Funding, acknowledgements: No Funding received for this study

Keywords: WMSDs, Prevalence, Quality of life

Topic: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) & risk factors

Did this work require ethics approval? Yes
Institution: University of Sharjah
Committee: Research Ethics Committee, University of Sharjah
Ethics number: REC-19-06

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

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