Does leisure time physical activity protect against shoulder pain at work?

R D'Onise, Ernst Shanahan, Tiffany Gill, C Hill

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Shoulder pain is a common problem that can impact on work. Leisure time physical activity (LTPA) has the potential to reduce the impact of shoulder pain through its physiological, psychological and social benefits. Aims: To determine whether LTPA reduces the prevalence of shoulder pain in a working population. Methods: Participants were selected from a longitudinal population-based cohort study, the North West Adelaide Health Study. Information was gathered by questionnaire on LTPA, smoking, depression and socio-economic factors. Body mass index was measured in a clinic setting. Occupational physical activity (OPA) estimated by job title and shoulder pain was measured using the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index. Workers with and without shoulder pain were compared using logistic regression analysis. Results: Of the 1502 working participants, 16% reported having current shoulder pain. Shoulder pain was associated with older age (OR 1.98, 95% CI: 1.31-2.99) (age >50 years), smoking (OR 1.44, CI: 1.02-2.04), secondary-level educational attainment (OR 1.68, 95% CI: 1.07-2.65), high body mass index (BMI) (OR 1.54, 95% CI: 1.14-2.08) and depression (OR 2.42, 95% CI: 1.60-3.64). There was no effect of LTPA on shoulder pain. Conclusions: In this community-based cohort, there was no statistically significant association seen between LTPA, OPA and shoulder pain. There was, however, an association between smoking, BMI, secondary-level education, depression and shoulder pain. These modifiable factors may be better targets for preventive efforts than LTPA to reduce the risk of shoulder pain.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)383-388
    Number of pages6
    JournalOccupational Medicine-Oxford
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2010


    • Community study
    • Leisure time physical activity
    • Occupation
    • Shoulder pain


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