Objectives: Complaints of the arms, neck, and shoulders in general and computer-related disorders in particular affect many office workers in economically developed countries. However, with the increased use of computer systems in developing countries, the associated musculoskeletal symptoms and risk factors are yet to be investigated. The study investigates the relationship between work-related physical and psychosocial characteristics and symptoms of the arms, neck, and shoulders in an African economically developed worksite. Methods: A prospective cohort study with 1-year follow-up was conducted. Data were used from 250 computer office workers in Khartoum, Sudan. Data were collected using the Arabic version of the Maastricht Upper Extremity Questionnaire. Prevalence rates for symptoms were calculated and the categories of risk factors being evaluated consisted of physical, psychological, and individual risk factors. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors associated with complaints that were expressed as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: The 1-year follow-up prevalence rate was 0.63 (95% CI: 0.58-0.70) for neck symptoms, 0.56 (95% CI: 0.45-0.66) for shoulder symptoms, and 0.46 (95% CI: 0.42-0.59) for symptoms of the forearms/hands. Three main risk factors were significantly associated with the presence of symptoms: (1) time pressure [OR: 1.31 (1.00 to 1.90) P = 0.05], (2) task difficulty [OR: 1.85 (1.73 to 1.99) P = 0.03], and (3) previous history of symptoms [OR: 4.62 (2.20 to 9.35) P = 0.01]. Conclusions: The targeted office workers in Sudan are reporting symptoms in the neck, shoulders, and forearms. Work-related psychological factors predicted more significantly the presence of symptoms in the targeted population.
- risk factors
- neck shoulder and forearms/hands