Stress management and musculoskeletal disdsorders in knowledge workers: The possible mediating effects of stress hormones
2006 (English)In: Advances in Physiotherapy, ISSN 1403-8196, E-ISSN 1651-1948, Vol. 8, no 1, 5-14 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Psychosocial stressors have been reported to be a risk factor for musculoskeletal symptoms (MSS) in modern offices. The exact mechanisms are not known but there are two theories. One concerns mentally induced muscle tension, and the other concerns impact on muscle fibers from stress hormones. To date, there have been only descriptive studies and short-term studies of the possible role of stress in the etiology of MSS symptoms. Furthermore, none have involved hormonal end-points and the use of a prospective and controlled design. The aims of this study were to (i) assess the possible impact on MSS (in neck and back/lower arm, respectively) from structured stress management programs, and (ii) determine the possible mediating role of stress hormones in linking stress and MSS symptoms. The subjects were telecommunications systems design engineers. Participants responded to a standardized questionnaire on MSS. Each subject also responded to a comprehensive questionnaire on psychosocial and physical work environments. Blood samples were collected as well, in order to measure possible changes in the psychobiological markers. Half of the subjects participated in one of three stress management programs (n=66), while the other half functioned as a reference group (n=50). Stress management significantly reduced lower-arm symptoms during the active training period of the study. There was an interaction between higher testosterone levels and stress management on the one hand and lower-arm symptoms on the other. No remaining effects on lower-arm symptoms were seen at the 5-month follow-up after the formal training was terminated. Results suggest that stress management might be beneficial for certain types of MSS in the short term, with active coaching from a group leader. There is support for theories suggesting that stress-sensitive hormones have a role in linking stress to MSS.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 8, no 1, 5-14 p.
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-94078DOI: 10.1080/14038190500494683OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-94078DiVA: diva2:167804