Purpose: Despite the apparent importance of multisite musculoskeletal pain (MMP) for functioning, there is still a lack of studies that have investigated the influence of MMP on healthcare utilization (HU), sickness absence (SA) and restrictions of work (RW). This study described the HU, SA and RW due to musculoskeletal pain (MP) in different body sites and according to number of pain sites and investigated associations between number of pain sites with these three outcomes in workers from Bahia, Brazil. Methods: This study was based on two cross-sectional surveys carried out in 2010 and 2012. The response in the pooled data was 97 % (n = 1070, 228 women and 842 men). Interviewer-administered questionnaire was used with questions on HU, SA and RW due to MP. The number of pain sites is the sum score of eight body sites with pain in previous 12 months. Covariates were age, gender, physical and psychosocial work demands, leisure-time physical activities and body mass index. Cox regression models, properly applied to a cross-sectional study, determined the associations between number of pain sites with the three outcomes. Results: Prevalence of MP in the previous 12 months is 81.2 %, and MMP accounted for two-thirds of pain. We found consistently increasing occurrence of HU, SA and RW with increasing number of pain sites. For individuals with pain in four or more body sites, the utilization of health care was 1.7-fold the utilization by workers with single-site pain. Having pain in four or more sites increased the prevalence of SA 3.6-fold and of RW 4.0-fold compared with having single-site pain, after adjustment by covariates. Conclusions: The functional consequences of pain depend on how much body regions are affected, i.e., the more widespread pain, the higher the likelihood of medical consumption, sickness absence and restricted work. Given the high comorbidity, the number of pain sites, instead of specific body site of pain, seems to be a useful measure to anticipate interventions at workplaces for musculoskeletal disease prevention.

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doi.org/10.1007/s00420-016-1141-7, hdl.handle.net/1765/83881
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Department of Public Health

de Fernandes, R.C.P, & Burdorf, A. (2016). Associations of multisite pain with healthcare utilization, sickness absence and restrictions at work. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 89(7), 1039–1046. doi:10.1007/s00420-016-1141-7