Study Suggests Work Environment Associated With Musculoskeletal Pain In Therapists

F.J. Thomas

Sarasota, FL ( – A study released  by Swiss research publisher Springer Nature suggests that workplace environment is a contributor to musculoskeletal pain among Physical Therapists. The study, written by authors Yasmín Ezzatvar, Joaquín Calatayud, Lars L. Andersen, Ramón Aiguadé, Josep Benítez, and José Casaña was a collaboration of work from the University of Valencia (Spain), Aalborg University (Denmark) and Aalborg University (Spain). Physical Therapists are at high risk for musculoskeletal pain. The purpose of the study was to see if there was an association with work environment and the development of musculoskeletal pain as there have been few studies that investigated this specific correlation. Study results contained data from 1,006 Physical Therapists from questionnaires that were done online.
Of those polled, 57 percent of therapists stated they had experienced neck pain, and 49 percent indicated that they had experienced low back pain. A higher patient load or working more than 45 hours a week appeared to be high contributing factors to low back pain. The threshold to avoid pain appeared to be 35 hours per week. Treating more than 30 to 50 patients a week had the same effect, with 30 patients or less being the ideal number. The data also indicated that those therapists working in a seated position were at higher risk for developing low back pain.

The type of employer and level of experience appeared to also have an impact on pain. The study indicated that those working in a public setting such as hospitals, as opposed to private clinics were at higher risk for musculoskeletal pain. Additionally, those with less experience suffered with more musculoskeletal pain than those that had more.

You can download the full study on the Springer website.

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