The prevalence of work-related neck, shoulder, and upper back musculoskeletal disorders among midwives, nurses, and physicians: A systematic review

Maryann H. Long, Fiona E. Bogossian, Venerina Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


With the global shortage of health care workers predicted to worsen, attrition from the work force must be minimized. This review examined the incidence or prevalence of neck, shoulder, and upper back musculoskeletal disorders, a possible source of attrition, among midwives, nurses, and physicians. Four electronic databases were systematically searched for publications meeting inclusion criteria. Reference lists of retrieved articles were hand searched for additional articles. After eliminating articles that did not meet inclusion criteria, the remaining articles were assessed for quality and prevalence or incidence data were extracted. Twenty-nine articles published between 1990 and 2012 were included and assessed for quality. Median annual prevalence rates were 45% (neck), 40% (shoulder), and 35% (upper back). Methodological concerns included small sample size, inconsistency of outcome measures, likelihood of non-response bias, and low response rates. Midwives, who have not been well studied, demonstrated prevalence somewhat lower than that of nurses and physicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-229
Number of pages7
JournalWorkplace Health & Safety
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes

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