Vol 70, No 2 (2019)
Original article
Published online: 2019-06-25

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Musculoskeletal complaints among professional divers

Fride Flatmo1, Marit Grønning23, Ågot Irgens2
Pubmed: 31237670
IMH 2019;70(2):107-112.


Background: Previous publications have indicated a high risk of musculoskeletal complaints among professional divers. This study aims to investigate which factors influence professional divers’ risk of musculoskeletal complaints.

Materials and methods: Based on data gathered from a postal questionnaire sent to Norwegian inshore divers in 2011, the prevalence of musculoskeletal complaints, strain injuries and joint pain among divers with different certification levels, work-related tasks and decompression sickness (DCS) experiences were analysed. 

Results: The risk of musculoskeletal complaints, strain injuries and joint pain was significantly higher among divers working in the quay/construction industry versus divers not working in this industry, and among divers who had experienced DCS. Likewise, a higher risk was found among divers doing construction, inspection, pipelaying, blasting and welding, other physically demanding work, and working with vibrating and/or rotating tools. Having experienced tingling and/or numbness in fingers after working with vibrating and/or rotating tools or having sick leave due to tendonitis, periosteum inflammation, stretch injuries or sprains caused by diving also increased the risk. 

Conclusions: Professional divers working in the quay/construction industry, divers doing tasks with heavy physical demands and divers having experienced DCS are at a higher risk of musculoskeletal complaints than other professional divers. 

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