Background: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) represent the leading causes of occupational injuries among nursing staff. This population-based study was designed to assess the incidence and age-specific incidence of MSDs among a Taiwanese nurse cohort compared with non-nurses. Description. Data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database were used to identify MSDs in the study population. A total of 3914 nurses with a diagnosis of MSD were included, together with 11,744 non-nurses as a comparison group. The comparison subjects were randomly selected at a ratio of 3:1 relative to the nurse population and were matched by gender and age. The incidence of MSDs was calculated for the study group, with nurse-to-reference risk ratios presented as odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). During the period 2004-2010, 3004 MSDs occurred among the nurses (76.24%) and 7779 (65.79%) in the non-nurses. The annual incidence of MSDs for the nurses increased from 28.35% in 2006 to 33.65% in 2010. The nurse-to-reference risk ratio was 1.27 (95% CI 1.19-1.35) in 2004 and 1.46 (1.37-1.55) in 2010. Herniation of intervertebral disc, lumbago, rotator cuff syndrome, medial epicondylitis, trigger finger and carpal tunnel syndrome were the most common problems. Conclusions: Nurses are at higher risk of MSDs and the trend is increasing. Incorrect work-related posture/movement, psychological issues and the rolling shift system may be the major causes of MSDs among nurses in Taiwan.
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