OBJECTIVES: To describe the prevalence of self reported musculoskeletal complaints in the back, arms or neck, and legs among workers in the spinning industry, and to investigate the relations between these complaints and work related variables. METHODS: An interview based questionnaire survey was carried out in two spinning industry factories in Lithuania. RESULTS: The study group consisted of all workers in production (n = 363). Symptoms of the legs were the musculoskeletal symptom reported most often (61%). Many subjects had arms or neck (55%) or back problems (28%). 20% had experienced pain from all three sites. Almost 25% had had musculoskeletal pain every day and 16% had experienced constant pain during previous year. Packers had the highest risk of arms or neck problems whereas spinners had the highest risk of back or leg problems. Working in a strained posture (bending, work with arms raised up above shoulder level, and repetitive movements of the fingers) was associated with all three complaints. Only arms or neck complaints were associated with age. CONCLUSIONS: Musculoskeletal disorders are a common problem among workers producing gobelin or synthetic thread in Lithuania and working in a strained posture is a risk factor for developing musculoskeletal disorders in three body sites: legs, arms or neck, and back. To better understand the different aspects of physical load as risk factors, a more detailed study of the frequency of postural changes as well as an observation of individually adopted postures would be necessary. This applies to intervention studies in factories of the spinning industry to prevent complaints of the legs and shoulders.
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