Background Musculoskeletal pain is associated with demographic, occupational and physical factors. Methods Our study investigated the prevalence and factors associated with musculoskeletal pain in 911 women working in small-scale agriculture in rural northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in 2006 using a questionnaire survey. Results In total, 67% (n = 574) of women reported any chronic musculoskeletal pain. The 12-month prevalence of pain ranged from 63.9% to 73.3% and the prevalence of specific chronic pain lasting more than 3 months ranged from 42.8% to 48.3%. Older age, carrying heavy loads, working with hands above shoulder height, and frequently squatting and kneeling were associated with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Conclusion The prevalence of pain reported in our study, was similar to other developing countries, but considerably higher than in developed countries. Ergonomic interventions including improved and adapted work techniques and tools should be considered to reduce the prevalence of pain in our study population.

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American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Naidoo, S., Kromhout, H., London, L., Naidoo, R., & Burdorf, A. (2009). Musculoskeletal pain in women working in small-scale agriculture in south Africa. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 52(3), 202–209. doi:10.1002/ajim.20662