A Survey on Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Disorders and its Relationship with the Work Ability Index among Physical Therapists Working in Ahvaz, Iran: 2014

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Rehabilitation Administration Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Research Center, Ahvaz, Iran.

2 Department of Physical Therapy, Ahvaz JundiShapur University of Medical Sciences, Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Research Center Ahvaz, Iran.

3 Department of Health Services Management, Ahvaz JundiShapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

4 Department of Vital Statistics, Faculty of Health, JundiShapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.


Background and Objectives: Work ability is used as an index by managers, employers and insurance companies in programs to promote health and prevent diseases. Due to direct contact with numerous patients, activity type as well as constant and repetitive physical conditions at work, physical therapists are more likely to be at risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and its relationship with the work ability index among physical therapists working in Ahvaz, Iran.
Subjects and Methods: This study was a descriptive-analytic and cross-sectional research. Research population included physical therapists in Ahvaz, Iran. Data gathering instruments included Nordic questionnaire for determination of the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and work ability index questionnaire for determinating the work ability score.The data were analyzed using the Spearman correlation test, chi-square test and Fisher exact test in SPSS (ver18).  
Results: 48% of respondents were estimated moderate based on work ability index. Back and neck were reported to be the body parts with highest prevalence of harm. Work ability index as well as gender (P=0.005) and ownership type of clinic (P=0.027) showed a significant correlation with musculoskeletal disorders in neck (P=0.017) and back (P=0.019). Other demographic characteristics and musculoskeletal disorders did not show any significant correlation (P>0.05).
Conclusions: The results indicated a high prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among physical therapists. In order to decrease and solve their musculoskeletal problems and enhance quality of services, therapeutic and administrative decisions need to be taken. Finally, these decisions may consequently lead to enhancing physical therapists' work ability and productivity.


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