Failing firefighters: a survey of causes of death and ill-health retirement in serving firefighters in Strathclyde, Scotland from 1985-94. (1/1401)

During the decade beginning 1 January 1985, 887 full-time firefighters, all male, left the service of Strathclyde Fire Brigade (SFB). There were 17 deaths--compared to 64.4 expected in the Scottish male population aged 15-54 years--giving a standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of 26, and 488 ill-health retirements (IHR). None of the deaths was attributable to service, the major causes being: myocardial infarction--five, (expected = 17.3; SMR = 29); cancers--three (colon, kidney and lung) (expected = 13.6; SMR = 22); road traffic accidents--two (expected = 4.17; SMR = 48) and suicide--two (expected = 4.9; SMR = 41). Amalgamating the deaths and IHRs showed that the six most common reasons for IHR were musculoskeletal (n = 202, 40%), ocular (n = 61, 12.1%), 'others' (n = 58, 11.5%), injuries (n = 50, 9.9%), heart disease (n = 48, 9.5%) and mental disorders (n = 45, 8.9%). Over 300 IHRs (over 60%) occurred after 20 or more years service. When the IHRs were subdivided into two quinquennia, there were 203 and 302 in each period. Mean length of service during each quinquennium was 19.4 vs. 21.3 years (p = 0.003) and median length was 21 years in both periods; interquartile range was 12-26 years in the first and 17-27 years in the second period (p = 0.002), but when further broken down into diagnostic categories, the differences were not statistically significant, with the exception of means of IHRs attributed to mental disorders (14.5 vs. 19 years, p = 0.03).  (+info)

A chiropractic service arrangement for musculoskeletal complaints in industry: a pilot study. (2/1401)

Chiropractic services are commonly used by workers with musculoskeletal problems, especially low back and neck complaints. Research into the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of this approach is, however, difficult to design without prior pilot studies. This study followed 32 workers with these complaints attending one such service and used five measures of outcome over a 6-month period. These measured pain (VAS), disability (FLP), quality of life (SF-36), perceived benefit and satisfaction with care. Additionally, sickness costs to the companies were recorded over two years encompassing the study period. Treatment utilization was also monitored. Over half the population were chronic sufferers. The effect sizes were large for pain and for seven out of eight dimensions of the SF-36 questionnaire at 6-month follow-up, although not for disability (FLP). High levels of satisfaction and perceived improvement were reported and sickness costs to the companies fell. However, the sample size in this pilot study was small and did not include controls. We would, therefore, recommend a full cost-effectiveness study incorporating a randomized trial in this area.  (+info)

The Sock Test for evaluating activity limitation in patients with musculoskeletal pain. (3/1401)

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Assessment within rehabilitation often must reflect patients' perceived functional problems and provide information on whether these problems are caused by impairments of the musculoskeletal system. Such capabilities were examined in a new functional test, the Sock Test, simulating the activity of putting on a sock. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Intertester reliability was examined in 21 patients. Concurrent validity, responsiveness, and predictive validity were examined in a sample of 337 patients and in subgroups of this sample. RESULTS: Intertester reliability was acceptable. Sock Test scores were related to concurrent reports of activity limitation in dressing activities. Scores also reflected questionnaire-derived reports of problems in a broad range of activities of daily living and pain and were responsive to change over time. Increases in age and body mass index increased the likelihood of Sock Test scores indicating activity limitation. Pretest scores were predictive of perceived difficulties in dressing activities after 1 year. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION: Sock Test scores reflect perceived activity limitations and restrictions of the musculoskeletal system.  (+info)

The Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS): scale development, measurement properties, and clinical application. North American Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Research Network. (4/1401)

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to assess the reliability, construct validity, and sensitivity to change of the Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS). SUBJECTS AND METHODS: The LEFS was administered to 107 patients with lower-extremity musculoskeletal dysfunction referred to 12 outpatient physical therapy clinics. METHODS: The LEFS was administered during the initial assessment, 24 to 48 hours following the initial assessment, and then at weekly intervals for 4 weeks. The SF-36 (acute version) was administered during the initial assessment and at weekly intervals. A type 2,1 intraclass correlation coefficient was used to estimate test-retest reliability. Pearson correlations and one-way analyses of variance were used to examine construct validity. Spearman rank-order correlation coefficients were used to examine the relationship between an independent prognostic rating of change for each patient and change in the LEFS and SF-36 scores. RESULTS: Test-retest reliability of the LEFS scores was excellent (R = .94 [95% lower limit confidence interval (CI) = .89]). Correlations between the LEFS and the SF-36 physical function subscale and physical component score were r=.80 (95% lower limit CI = .73) and r = .64 (95% lower limit CI = .54), respectively. There was a higher correlation between the prognostic rating of change and the LEFS than between the prognostic rating of change and the SF-36 physical function score. The potential error associated with a score on the LEFS at a given point in time is +/-5.3 scale points (90% CI), the minimal detectable change is 9 scale points (90% CI), and the minimal clinically important difference is 9 scale points (90% CI). CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION: The LEFS is reliable, and construct validity was supported by comparison with the SF-36. The sensitivity to change of the LEFS was superior to that of the SF-36 in this population. The LEFS is efficient to administer and score and is applicable for research purposes and clinical decision making for individual patients.  (+info)

Transitions in employment, morbidity, and disability among persons ages 51-61 with musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal conditions in the US, 1992-1994. (5/1401)

OBJECTIVE: To provide estimates of the prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions in a sample of persons ages 51-61 living in the community in the US in 1992, to indicate the incidence of such conditions between 1992 and 1994, and to describe the proportion of individuals with these conditions who developed or recovered from disability and who left and entered employment during this time. METHODS: The estimates were derived from the Health and Retirement Survey, consisting of data on a national probability sample of 8,739 persons, ages 51-61, who were interviewed in the community in 1992 and reinterviewed in 1994. RESULTS: In 1992, 62.4% of persons (14.4 million) between the ages of 51 and 61 years reported at least 1 musculoskeletal condition; the rate increased to 70.5% by 1994. More than 40% of persons with musculoskeletal conditions reported disability, which was almost 90% of all persons with disability in this age group. Persons with musculoskeletal conditions had lower employment rates, were less likely to enter employment, and were more likely to leave employment compared with persons without these conditions. High rates of disability account for much of these differences. CONCLUSION: Musculoskeletal conditions affected more than two-thirds of persons ages 51-61 and accounted for all but 10% of those with disabilities. The prevention of disability among such persons should improve their employment prospects.  (+info)

Use of complementary therapies by patients attending musculoskeletal clinics. (6/1401)

Patients with musculoskeletal disorders commonly seek treatment outside orthodox medicine (complementary therapy). In patients attending hospital clinics we investigated the prevalence of such behaviour and the reasons for it. Patients attending rheumatology and orthopaedic clinics who agreed to participate were interviewed on the same day by means of a structured questionnaire in three sections: the first section about demographic characteristics; the second about the nature and duration of the complaint, the length of any treatment and whether the patient was satisfied with conventional treatment; and the third about the use of complementary medicine, the types of therapy that had been considered and the reasoning behind these decisions. The data were examined by univariate and bivariate analysis as well as logistic regression multivariate analysis. 166 patients were interviewed (99% response rate) and the predominant diagnosis was rheumatoid arthritis (22.3%). 109 patients (63%) were satisfied with conventional medical treatment; 63 (38%) had considered the use of complementary therapies, and 47 (28%) had tried such a therapy. 26 of the 47 who had used complementary therapy said they had gained some benefit. Acupuncture, homoeopathy, osteopathy and herbal medicine were the most popular types of treatment to be considered. Patients of female gender (P = 0.009) and patients who had expressed dissatisfaction with current therapies (P = 0.01) were most likely to have considered complementary medicine. These results indicate substantial use of complementary therapy in patients attending musculoskeletal disease clinics. The reasons for dissatisfaction with orthodox treatment deserve further investigation, as does the effectiveness of complementary treatments, which must be demonstrated before they are integrated with orthodox medical practice.  (+info)

Risk factors for neck and upper limb disorders: results from 24 years of follow up. (7/1401)

OBJECTIVES: To investigate associations between different potential risk factors, related and not related to work, and disorders of the neck and upper extremities occurring up to 24 years later. METHODS: The study comprised 252 women and 232 men, Swedish citizens, 42-59 years of age and in a broad range of occupations. Information about potential risk factors was available from a former study conducted in 1969. Data on disorders of the neck, shoulder, and hand-wrist disorders were obtained retrospectively for the period 1970-93. RESULTS: Risk factors were found to differ between the sexes. Among women over-time work, high mental workload, and unsatisfactory leisure time were associated with disorders in the neck-shoulder region. Interaction was found between high mental workload and unsatisfactory leisure time. Neck symptoms earlier in life were associated with recurrent disorders. Hand and wrist disorders were associated mainly with physical demands at work. Among men blue collar work and a simultaneous presence of high mental workload and additional domestic workload predicted disorders in the neck-shoulder region. CONCLUSIONS: Factors related and not related to work were associated with disorders of the neck, shoulders, and hands and wrist up to 24 years later in life. These included factors related to working hours which previously have not been noted in this context. Interactions between risk factors both related and not related to work were commonly found.  (+info)

Musculoskeletal manifestations in a population-based cohort of patients with giant cell arteritis. (8/1401)

OBJECTIVE: To define musculoskeletal manifestations occurring in a population-based cohort of patients with giant cell (temporal) arteritis (GCA). METHODS: The records of 128 patients with GCA diagnosed over a 42-year-period (1950-1991) in Olmsted County, MN, were reviewed for the presence and type of musculoskeletal manifestations, their relationship to the onset and course of GCA, and their response to treatment. RESULTS: Fifty-three patients (41%) developed polymyalgia rheumatica: 23 before, 17 concurrently with, and 13 after the diagnosis of GCA. Thirty patients (23%) developed 1 or more peripheral musculoskeletal manifestations. These included peripheral synovitis in 23 patients (6 of whom fulfilled criteria for rheumatoid arthritis), distal extremity swelling with pitting edema in 13, distal swelling without pitting in 5, tenosynovitis in 6, and carpal tunnel syndrome in 2. Fifty-seven episodes of peripheral manifestations occurred in the 30 patients at different times during the course of GCA. In most, the onset of PMR and peripheral manifestations was within 2 years of the diagnosis of GCA. CONCLUSION: Musculoskeletal symptoms in GCA are common and varied. Most appear linked temporally to the underlying GCA, indicating that the nature of this illness and its clinical expression are broader than often considered.  (+info)