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Multi-site musculoskeletal pain in Swedish police: associations with discomfort from wearing mandatory equipment and prolonged sitting

Journal article
Authors L. B. Larsen
E. E. Andersson
Roy Tranberg
N. Ramstrand
Published in International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Volume 91
Issue 4
Pages 425-433
ISSN 0340-0131
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics
Pages 425-433
Language en
Keywords Body armour, Cross-sectional study, Duty belt, Law enforcement, Multi-site musculoskeletal pain, active-duty police, sickness absence, work ability, industrial-population, risk-factors, back-pain, officers, determinants, force, Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Subject categories Occupational physiology


Musculoskeletal disorders are considered as a major issue affecting the health and well-being of active duty police. Discomfort from wearing mandatory equipment and sitting for long periods of time in fleet vehicles are workload factors linked to musculoskeletal disorders in police. This study aims to determine the prevalence of multi-site musculoskeletal pain among Swedish police and to explore the possible association to discomfort experience when wearing mandatory equipment and sitting for long periods in fleet vehicles. In this cross-sectional study responses from 4185 police were collected through a self-administered online survey including questions about physical work environment, mandatory equipment and musculoskeletal pain. Multi-site pain was determined through summing pain sites from four body regions. Binomial logistic regression was performed to explore the association between multi-site musculoskeletal pain: (1) discomfort from wearing mandatory equipment and (2) sitting for long periods in fleet vehicles. The prevalence of multi-site musculoskeletal pain at least 1 day per week within the previous 3 months was 41.3%. A statistically significant association between discomfort from wearing mandatory equipment and multi-site musculoskeletal pain was found; duty belt [OR 5.42 (95% CI 4.56-6.43)] as well as body armour [OR 2.69 (95% CI 2.11-3.42)]. Sitting for long periods in fleet vehicles was not significantly associated to multi-site musculoskeletal pain. Multi-site musculoskeletal pain is a considerable problem among Swedish police and modifying mandatory equipment to decrease discomfort is suggested as a potential means of decreasing the musculoskeletal pain experienced by many police officers.

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