Work related musculoskeletal disorders in physical therapists; a systematic review
Introduction: Physical therapists are required to perform tasks that predispose them to developing work related musculoskeletal disorders. The physical therapists personal and professional life can be affected by work related musculoskeletal disorders. High level evidence is lacking regarding work related musculoskeletal disorders. The purpose of this study was to combine information on prevalence, risk factors and the consequences of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in physical therapists.
Material & Methods: A systematic review was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines.Three members independently searched the databases PubMed and other online sources including google scholar for relevant data from July 2014 to September 2020. Cross-sectional studies published in English language which reported work related musculoskeletal disorders in physical therapists were included. Studies involving physical therapy students and internees, having insufficient information about past or current work-related musculoskeletal disorders, sample size of physical therapists less than 50 and not published in peer reviewed journals were excluded.
Results: Twenty one articles were included in current systematic review. The 1-year prevalence of workrelated musculoskeletal disorders among physical therapists ranged from 38.5% to 97.6%. The low back was the commonest affected body part. Treating large number of patients and manual therapy were the leading risk factors for developing work related musculoskeletal disorders. The most common consequences were modifying treatment techniques and reducing work hours.
Conclusion: Prevalence of work related musculoskeletal disorders are high among physical therapists. The nature of physical therapy job presents significant risk factors which can lead to work related musculoskeletal disorders.