Work related musculoskeletal disorders among osteopaths practicing in New Zealand: A national survey

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Fitchew, Gregory Jack
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Osteopathy
Unitec Institute of Technology
Standen, Clive
Stewart, Andrew
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
work related musculoskeletal disorders
New Zealand osteopaths
osteopathic medicine
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Fitchew, G. J. (2009). Work related musculoskeletal disorders among osteopaths practicing in New Zealand: A national survey. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSDs) have been shown to reduce job satisfaction, clinical efficacy, and personal safety in a variety of healthcare settings (e.g. physiotherapy, nursing, chiropractic). The purpose of the present study was to determine the prevalence of such disorders in a NZ Osteopathic context. This study surveyed 80 members of the Osteopathic Society of New Zealand. Analysis of data indicated a 97.3% WRMSD prevalence rate. Respondents most commonly suffered WRMSDs in the wrist/hands, head/neck, and upper back/thorax. The factors most respondents identified as contributing to their WRMSDs illustrate an association between the way respondents run their practice and their musculoskeletal health. These factors were performing the same task repetitively, treating a large number of patients in a single day, continuing to work when injured, and performing manual osteopathic techniques. The preferred technique modalities identified by respondents were soft tissue, OCF, and articulation. There was a positive effect between preferred techniques and the occurrence of WRMSDs (OR = 1.96, 95% CI = 0.30 to 12.70; RR = 1.05). The results of this study indicate many similarities in WRMSDs between the osteopathic profession and other manual health care professionals. Particular points of interest were the relatively high prevalence rate of WRMSDs and the relatively strong association between preferred practicing techniques and WRMSDs.
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