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ORIGINAL PAPER
The prevalence, characteristics, and impact of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among physical therapists in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – a cross-sectional study
 
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1
King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia (College of Applied Medical Sciences, Department of Medical Rehabilitation Sciences)
2
Parul University, Vadodara, Gujarat, India (Department of Physiotherapy)
3
Parul University, Vadodara, Gujarat, India (Parul Sevashram Hospital, Parul Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Department of Orthopaedics)
4
Hail University, Hail, Saudi Arabia (College of Applied Medical Sciences, Department of Physiotherapy)
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Venkata Nagaraj Kakaraparthi   

King Khalid University, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Department of Medical Rehabilitation Sciences, Abha, Saudi Arabia
Online publication date: 2021-08-27
 
Med Pr 2021;72(4):363–373
 
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ABSTRACT
Background: Physical therapists are known to be susceptible to work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs), but the prevalence of WMSDs in Saudi Arabia has not been documented. This study aimed to establish the prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors of WMSDs among physical therapists in Saudi Arabia. Material and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 113 physical therapists in Saudi Arabia using a 6-component questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, incidence, percentages, and χ2 test were used for data analysis. Results: The response rate was 68.8%. The reported 12-month incidence of WMSDs was 83.8%. The low back (63.7%) was the most common site of these disorders, followed by the neck (59.2%), while the hip/thigh (4.4%) was the least involved body part. Incidence was related to gender: females were more affected than males (neck, shoulders, low back); age: younger therapists were more affected than older ones (shoulders, low back); working sector: government sector workers were more affected than those employed in other sectors (neck); and specialty: orthopedic specialists were the most frequently affected, followed by those specializing in neurology (thumbs, upper back, knees, ankle/foot). Most of the physical therapists had >5 periods of neck, shoulder, and low-back WMSDs. The most important risk factor for WMSDs was treating more patients in a day (47.7%). The most frequently adopted handling strategy identified to combat WMSDS was modifying the patient’s position (62.8%). Conclusions: Overall, WMSDs among physical therapists in Saudi Arabia are common, with the low back and the neck constituting the most frequently affected body regions. Professional experience and the awareness of ergonomics principles can help prevent the early development of WMSDs among physical therapists. Med Pr. 2021;72(4):363–73
eISSN:2353-1339
ISSN:0465-5893