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Follow-up of neck and shoulder pain among sewing machine operators: The Los Angeles Garment Study.

Wang-PC; Harrison-RJ; Yu-F; Rempel-DM; Ritz-BR
Am J Ind Med 2010 Apr; 53(4):352-360
BACKGROUND: The aim of the present study is to explore factors affecting or modifying self-reported neck/shoulder pain in sewing machine operators. METHODS: We investigated self-report neck/shoulder pain in 247 workers who participated in a 4-month prospective intervention study for musculoskeletal disorders. All participants were immigrants. We examine the influence of individual and work-related factors on changes in neck/shoulder pain during follow-up employing linear mixed models with time-spline functions. RESULTS: We observed a dramatic decline (72%) in self-reported pain intensity in the first month of follow-up, followed by a small increase from the first to fourth month (4% per month). Workers who perceived and reported their physical workload as high or worked overtime experienced less overall pain reduction. Higher baseline pain intensity, being of Hispanic ethnicity (vs. Asian), and taking cumulative daily rest time during work of 35 min or more allowing for muscles to rest were associated with a larger pain reduction in the first month, but not thereafter. CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that some work-related factors may be of clinical relevance for reducing neck/shoulder pain. Having lower physical workloads and less overtime work should be considered when treating patients or planning workplace interventions for managing work-related musculoskeletal disorders in this underserved immigrant population.
Biological-factors; Equipment-operators; Ergonomics; Factory-workers; Machine-operation; Mathematical-models; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Posture; Questionnaires; Racial-factors; Statistical-analysis; Work-environment; Workplace-studies; Work-practices; Author Keywords: immigrant; sewing machine; garment industry; recovery; neck and shoulder pain; work organization; musculoskeletal disorder; ergonomic; psychosocial; sewing machine operator; garment industry
Beate R. Ritz, Department of Epidemiology, UCLA, School of Public Health, 71-254 CHS, Box 951772, 650 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-007779; Grant-Number-T42-OH-008429
Issue of Publication
Source Name
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Performing Organization
University of California - Los Angeles
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division