Are trajectories of neck-shoulder pain associated with sick leave and work ability in workers? A 1-year prospective study

Tidsskriftartikel - 2019

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OBJECTIVES: The study aimed to determine the extent to which latent trajectories of neck-shoulder pain (NSP) are associated with self-reported sick leave and work ability based on frequent repeated measures over 1 year in an occupational population.

METHODS: This longitudinal study included 748 Danish workers (blue-collar, n=620; white collar, n=128). A questionnaire was administered to collect data on personal and occupational factors at baseline. Text messages were used for repeated measurements of NSP intensity (scale 0-10) over 1 year (14 waves in total). Simultaneously, self-reported sick leave (days/month) due to pain was assessed at 4-week intervals, while work ability (scale 0-10) was assessed using a single item (work ability index) at 12-week intervals over the year. Trajectories of NSP, distinguished by latent class growth analysis, were used as predictors of sick leave and work ability in generalised estimation equations with multiple adjustments.

RESULTS: Sick leave increased and work ability decreased across all NSP trajectory classes (low, moderate, strong fluctuating and severe persistent pain intensity). In the adjusted model, the estimated number of days on sick leave was 1.5 days/month for severe persistent NSP compared with 0.1 days/month for low NSP (relative risk=13.8, 95% CI 6.7 to 28.5). Similarly, work ability decreased markedly for severe persistent NSP (OR=12.9, 95% CI 8.5 to 19.7; median 7.1) compared with low NSP (median 9.5).

CONCLUSION: Severe persistent NSP was associated with sick leave and poor work ability over 1 year among workers. Preventive strategies aiming at reducing severe persistent NSP among working populations are needed.

Reference

Hallman DM, Holtermann A, Dencker-Larsen S, Birk Jørgensen M, Nørregaard Rasmussen CD. Are trajectories of neck-shoulder pain associated with sick leave and work ability in workers? A 1-year prospective study. BMJ Open 2019;9(3):e022006.
doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022006

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