OBJECTIVES: The aim of this case-control study was to investigate characteristics of cleaners with good musculoskeletal health after years with physically heavy work. METHODS: One hundred and 41 female seniority cleaners participated. Twenty-five reported no musculoskeletal symptoms, whereas 83 reported severe symptoms in the low back, neck shoulders or upper limbs. The groups were of matching age, height, body weight and seniority (19 years). Muscular strength was recorded by isometric maximal voluntary contractions on a day without pain. Exposure to physical risk factors at work, psychosocial work factors, and leisure time physical activity were assessed by a postal questionnaire. RESULTS: Cleaners with good musculoskeletal health were not reporting different exposure to physical risk factors at work or leisure time physical activity, but had higher muscular strength and reported higher influence at work than cleaners with severe symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that muscular strength and influence at work are of relevance for sustaining good musculoskeletal health in workers with physically heavy work.
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 2009, Vol 82, Issue 8, p. 1015-22