Nurses’ musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs) are worldwide prevalent and are considered to be a costly occupational injury. This study aims to investigate the relationship among exposure to occupation-related psychosocial factors, physical workload, and upper body musculoskeletal diseases among hospital nurses.
An electronic search was implemented using nine databases with June 2019 as the latest search date. English and Chinese studies were chosen, and data were independently and separately extracted by two investigators. Pooled odds ratio (OR) and its 95% confidence interval (CI) were estimated for each subset, using the fixed or random-effects model, following heterogeneity between studies for research synthesis. The source of heterogeneity was explored through subgroup, sensitivity, and meta analyses.
Eighteen studies were included in the meta-analysis. Most participants were women (51.4%-100.0%), aged between 20 and 60. A correlation was found between high job demand and the prevalence of low back pain (OR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.23-1.62). Total job strain was related to the risk of low back pain (OR, 1.71; 95% CI, 1.15-2.55), neck pain (OR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.26-2.20), shoulder pain (OR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.06-2.48), and back pain (OR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.10-1.91). Furthermore, physical workload was significantly associated with the prevalence of low back pain (OR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.32-2.35), neck pain (OR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.08-1.27), shoulder pain (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.37-1.85), and back pain (OR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.45-1.90).
There were significant associations between occupational strain, more physical workload and upper body MSDs, but the evidence advocating a growth risk in MSDs due to low levels of social support is quite weak.

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