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Keywords:

  • poultry workers;
  • musculoskeletal illness;
  • epicondylitis;
  • low back pain;
  • rotator cuff syndrome

Abstract

Background

The goal of this study is to improve understanding of immigrant Latino manual workers' occupational health, focusing on upper body musculoskeletal injury.

Methods

Physical exams were conducted with a representative sample of 516 Latino poultry workers and manual laborers in western North Carolina; outcome measures were prevalence of epicondylitis, rotator cuff syndrome, and low back pain.

Results

Low back pain (n = 89; 17.2%) and rotator cuff syndrome (n = 76; 14.7%) indicated by physical exam was common. Epicondylitis was less common, but still frequent (n = 30; 5.8%). Prevalence of each outcome did not differ between poultry processing workers and other manual workers. Workers >40 years old had greater incidence of rotator cuff syndrome and epicondylitis.

Conclusions

Epicondylitis, rotator cuff syndrome, and low back pain are common in immigrant Latino workers, and may negatively impact long-term health and contribute to occupational health disparities. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:226–234, 2013. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.