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disorders, complaints of the arm, neck and/or shoulder, occupational cervico-brachial disorders,
upper extremity disorders, upper limb disorders, work-related upper extremity disorders, MSD
and ergonomic injuries (Boocock et al., 2009; Hagberg et al., 1995; OSHA, 2010; Yassi, 1997).
Nowadays the term that is used commonly worldwide is WRMSD because it precludes the use of
words that are related with possible causations (repetition, cumulative, injury, etc) that may or
may not be the real cause of a particular disorder (Hagberg et al., 1995).
Extent of Work-Related Low Back Disorders
The term LBD cover both low back pain (LBP) and low back injuries (Op de Beek and Hermans,
2000), because low back disorders (LBD) almost always lead to LBP (Bogduk, 2005; McGill, 2007).
However, both terms have been used interchangeably. Sometimes, despite of being a symptom,
the term LBP was used as a diagnosis instead (Negrini et al., 2008).
Despite the difficulty to make direct comparisons between epidemiologic studies with different
methodological designs that used different case definitions of MSD or LBP, the scientific literature
is rather convinced in supporting that MSD, and primarily LBP, are very prevalent among the
general population and moreover with a rising tendency. The available extrapolated data about the
magnitude of MSD on the general population comes primarily from European Union (EU), North
America and Scandinavian countries and mainly are based on individual self-report in surveys. The
overwhelming thrust of the data revealed that MSD and especially LBP, are very prevalent among
the population of the western industrialized countries and constitute a serious health problem with
great socioeconomic impact (NRC-IOM, 2001; Shekelle, 1997). The U.S. National Ambulatory
Medical Care Survey on 1989 ranked MSD second after respiratory conditions as the most common
reason for seeking health care (NRC-IOM, 2001). The prevalence of impairment from MSD for the
entire U.S. population was estimated at 15% on 1988, and at 13.9% on 1995, with an estimation
of 18.4% or 59.4 million people by the year 2020 due to changes in the demographics of U.S.
society and the workforce (Lawrence et al., 1998; Praemer, Furner, and Rice, 1999) (cited in
NRC-IOM, 2001).
LBP has been reported as the most prevalent and costly MSD in many studies (Burton, 2005;
Krismer and Van Tulder, 2007; Negrini et al., 2008; NRC-IOM, 2001; Praemer, Furner, and Rice,
1999; Shekelle, 1997). Hoy et al. (2012), undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis
on 165 cross-sectional studies published between 1980-2009 to assess the global prevalence of
LBP. The results of their study revealed that the global prevalence of LBP increased very slightly
over the past 3 decades and it was most prevalent among females and persons ages 40-80 years.
Most epidemiological studies on LBP are prevalence studies because is difficult to estimate the
incidence of LBP due to its cumulative origin (Hoy et al., 2010). The point prevalence for LBP in
the adult population in the industrialized countries ranges from 10% to over 50%, the 1-month
prevalence from 19% to 43%, the annual prevalence for any LBP is 53%; for frequently or persisted
LBP ranges from 10% to 18%; for herniated disc diagnosed by a physician is 2.1 %, and the
lifetime prevalence for any LBP ranges from 14% up to 90%, while for frequently or persisted