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Construction workers working in musculoskeletal pain and engaging in leisure-time physical activity: findings from a mixed-methods pilot study.

Caban-Martinez AJ; Lowe KA; Herrick R; Kenwood C; Gagne JJ; Becker JF; Schneider SP; Dennerlein JT; Sorensen G
Am J Ind Med 2014 Jul; 57(7):819-825
Background: While exercise has been shown to be beneficial for some musculoskeletal pain conditions, construction workers who are regularly burdened with musculoskeletal pain may engage less in leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) due to pain. In a small pilot study, we investigate how musculoskeletal pain may influence participation in LTPA among construction workers. Methods: A sequential explanatory mixed-methods design was employed using a jobsitebased survey (n¼43) among workers at two commercial construction sites and one focus group (n¼5). Results: Over 93% of these construction workers reported engaging in LTPA and 70% reported musculoskeletal pain. Fifty-seven percent of workers who met either moderate or vigorous LTPA guidelines reported lower extremity pain (i.e., ankle, knee) compared with 21% of those who did not engage in either LTPA (P¼0.04). Focus group analyses indicate that workers felt they already get significant physical activity out of their job because they are "moving all the time and not sitting behind a desk." Workers also felt they "have no choice but to work through pain and discomfort [as the worker] needs to do anything to get the job done." Conclusion: Pilot study findings suggest that construction workers not only engage in either moderate or vigorous LTPA despite musculoskeletal pain but workers in pain engage in more LTPA than construction workers without pain.
Physical-fitness; Physical-capacity; Physiology; Physiological-function; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Muscles; Workers; Statistical-analysis; Total-Worker-Health; Author Keywords: musculoskeletal pain; physical activity; construction workers; mixed methods
Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, DO, PhD, MPH, Department of Environmental Health,Harvard University, School of Public Health, 401Park Drive, Landmark Center Building, 3F, West # 112 Boston, MA 02215
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U19-OH-008861; M062014
Issue of Publication
Source Name
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Performing Organization
Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts
Page last reviewed: November 13, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division