Objectives To compare the quality of life (QoL) in three groups of workers suffering or not from shoulder pain (SP) lasting more than one month during the preceding 12 months.
Method Between 2002–2005, 3710 workers were randomly included in a French surveillance system of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. In 2007, 2332 responded to a follow-up questionnaire, 2049 were still active. Workers completed the Nordic Questionnaire to assess SP and the SF-36 for QoL. Three groups were defined according to health status at follow-up:
Group 1: workers without SP (men: 87.9%; women: 79.2%)
Group 2: workers with SP without neck, elbow and hand/wrist pain lasting more than one month during the preceding 12 months (men: 4.2%; women: 6.0%)
Group 3: workers with SP and neck, elbow or hand/wrist pain lasting more than one month during the preceding 12 months (men 7.9%; women 14.8%)
The mean scores of SF-36 were compared with Kruskall-Wallis test and post-hoc comparisons were performed. Analyses were stratified by gender.
Results Workers in group 2 had lower scores of physical health compared to workers in group 1, whatever the gender. Workers in group 3 had lower scores of physical and mental health compared to workers in group 1. Two dimensions of mental health in men and the four dimensions of physical health and one dimension of mental health in women had lower scores in group 3 compared to group 2.
Conclusions Workers with SP and upper-limb pain have poorer QoL compared to workers without SP and workers with SP without upper-limb pain.
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