Work. 2022 Jul 24. doi: 10.3233/WOR-211054. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Otorhinolaryngology practitioners are known to be susceptible to work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs), but the incidence of WMSDs in Saudi Arabia has not been documented.
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to establish the prevalence, characteristics, contributing factors, work sector, and impact of WMSDs among otorhinolaryngology practitioners in Saudi Arabia.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted on 104 otorhinolaryngology practitioners in Saudi Arabia using a six-component questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, prevalence, percentages, and chi-square tests were used for data analysis.
RESULTS: The response rate was 65.3% . The reported 12-month incidence of WMSDs was 72.7% . The neck region (67.3%) was the most common site of disorders, followed by the shoulder (49%). The elbow and hip (10.5%) regions were the least commonly affected regions. WMSD prevalence was related to gender, with men more affected than women (neck, shoulders, low back); age, with younger otorhinolaryngology practitioners more affected than older ones (neck, shoulder); work sector, with greater prevalence in government than other sectors (neck); and sub-specialty, with general otolaryngology reporting the highest WMSD frequency, followed by otology and neurotology (neck, shoulder, low back, upper back, knees). Most otorhinolaryngology practitioners experienced two to four episodes of neck, shoulder, and low-back WMSDs. The most significant risk factor for WMSDs was sustained posture for long periods of time (61.5%). The most common strategy implemented against WMSDs was modifying the practitioner’s position during treatment (58.6%).
CONCLUSIONS: WMSDs among otorhinolaryngology practitioners in Saudi Arabia are very common, with the neck and shoulders regions most often involved. Improved professional skills and an understanding of the principles of ergonomics can prevent the initial development of WMSDs in otorhinolaryngology practitioners.