Self-report measures of musculoskeletal discomfort are widely used and generally accepted as a proxy or risk factor for musculoskeletal disorders in epidemiologic research and workplace health surveillance. Discomfort measures are also commonly used to evaluate ergonomic interventions, or as a screening tool in the context of hazard surveillance to detect exposures to workplace physical stressors. As popularized by the classic work of Corlett and Bishop (1976), the most familiar forms of musculoskeletal discomfort surveys employ body maps together with rating scales for assessing attributes of discomfort in multiple regions of the body. Cameron (1996) and Straker (1999) provide excellent reviews of the literature on measurement of body part discomfort, including the wide range of methods employed. Of the many methods for surveying musculoskeletal discomfort, few have been used repeatedly in a standardized fashion. Exceptions include the Standardized Nordic Questionnaire (SNQ) (Kourinka et aI., 1987) and the University of Michigan Upper Extremity Questionnaire (UMUEQ) (Franzblau et aI., 1997). These two instruments are similar in many respects to the discomfort surveys used by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
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