PloS one 2017 01 0612(1) e0169318 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0169318
Modern office workers are often impacted by chronic neck/shoulder pain. Most of the previous studies which investigated the relationship of the occupational factors and musculoskeletal symptoms had adopted questionnaire survey. In this study the microcirculatory characteristics and perceived symptoms in neck/shoulder region were compared among office workers with sedentary lifestyle.
Thirty-seven female office workers were recruited in this study. Microcirculatory flow in neck/shoulder region characterized by the mean blood flow (MMBF value), pulsatile blood flow (PMBF value), and the PMBF/MMBF ratio (perfusion pulsatility, PP) were investigated using Laser Doppler Flowmetry (LDF). A Chinese version of the Standardized Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) were also administered to collect the information of perceived neck/shoulder symptoms. Correlations between the perfusion characteristics and the individual/occupational factors were analyzed using the Spearman test. The difference of the MMBF values between the low-pain group (pain level≤2) and the high-pain group (pain level>2) were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test.
There were 81% participants reported neck or shoulder pain symptoms. The duration of shoulder pain was significantly correlated with the workers’ age and the duration of employment (p<0.01) (n = 37). While both the MMBF and PMBF values in shoulder region were significantly reduced with the workers' age and the duration of employment (p<0.05) (n = 27). And there was a 54% reduction in the MMBF value of the workers from age of 23 to 47. And the MMBF value of the high-pain group (n = 15) was significantly lower than the value of the low-pain group (n = 15) (p<0.05). The duration of shoulder pain showed a moderately negative correlation with PMBF values (n = 19). Besides, the PP value was moderately correlated with shoulder pain level attributed by the rapid reduction of MMBF values (p = 0.07). CONCLUSION
In this study, the LDF method was used for the first time in the workplace in Taiwan. It was demonstrated that the MMBF in shoulder region were affected by aging effect and towards lower value at higher pain level. Impaired microcirculation caused by age effect, when coupled with sedentary lifestyle, was found to be more likely to evoke ischemia shoulder pain. Further studies are needed to assess current indicator, PP value, and the underlying mechanism of pain caused by sedentary lifestyle.