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O37-4 Musculoskeletal pain at baseline and after a year in south african nurses
  1. Busiswe Nyantumbu1,
  2. David Rees1,
  3. David Coggan2
  1. 1National Institute for Occupational Health, Johannesburg, South Africa
  2. 2Medical Research Council, Southampton, UK


Background Musculoskeletal pain research in South African is scant. Hence this study to determine the percentages of nurses with musculoskeletal pain at baseline + at follow-up interview a year later (persistent pain) and occurrence of incident pain (no pain at baseline but pain at follow-up); and to identify risk factors associated with persistent pain.

Methods CUPID methodology was used. Nurses in wards with patient handling tasks were selected from two large public-sector hospitals in Gauteng, South Africa. They were interviewed at baseline about the one-month prevalence of site-specific musculoskeletal pain and about a large number of physical, social and psychological variables. Of the 251 baseline nurses, 189 (75%) completed a similar follow-up interview. The baseline nurses and follow-up nurses did not differ by study variables, and having pain at baseline did not influence follow-up participation. Explanatory variables associated with musculoskeletal pain were identified using multivariate logistic regression; a backward hierarchical stepwise approach was used to build final models.

Results One-month prevalences of site-specific pain were consistently higher at follow-up than at baseline. For example, low back pain and neck pain were 33.9% and 42.3% and 20.7% and 27.5% respectively. Persistence of pain was common: 77% of nurses reported persistence of neck pain and 70% knee pain with the lowest being wrist/hand pain at 35%. Nearly half, 39/82, of nurses who did not have any pain during the 1-month prior to baseline, developed pain in the 1-month before the follow-up interview. Regarding site specific pain, incident low back pain had the highest (32.8%) and incident elbow pain had the lowest occurrences (8.5%). Only past injuries [OR 7.0, 95% CI: 3.0–16.2] and ≥2 distressing somatic symptoms were associated with persistent pain.

Conclusions Persistence of pain was common. A large number of potential determinants of persistent pain were considered, but few identified.

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