Original Research

Factors associated with musculoskeletal pain in the past 12 months amongst female miners in a South African goldmine

Khathutshelo P. Kabongo, Saloshni Naidoo
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 77, No 1 | a1476 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v77i1.1476 | © 2021 Khathutshelo P. Kabongo, Saloshni Naidoo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 February 2020 | Published: 18 January 2021

About the author(s)

Khathutshelo P. Kabongo, Department of Mineral Resources, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Discipline of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Saloshni Naidoo, Discipline of Public Health Medicine, School of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Mineworkers, including females, are prone to work-related musculoskeletal disorders and these disorders are not well reported amongst female mineworkers in South Africa.

Objective: This study aimed to identify the factors associated with the presence of musculoskeletal pain over a 12-month period amongst female mineworkers (n = 225) in a South African goldmine.

Method: Female mineworkers’ responses to the presence of musculoskeletal pain over the previous 12-month period and their exposure to physical and psychological factors were elicited using a standardised questionnaire. Descriptive and multivariable analytical statistics were conducted to test for associations between physical and psychological factors and the presence of musculoskeletal pain over the previous 12 months.

Results: The median age of participants was 40 years, with 50.22% of participants reporting the presence of musculoskeletal pain over the previous 12 months. On multivariable analysis, education level and good to excellent health status were protective against the existence of pain during the previous 12 months. Participants’ perceived ratings of experiencing moderate-to-high pain intensities were significantly associated with reports of pain over the past 12 months.

Conclusion: These findings may raise awareness amongst physiotherapists and occupational medicine physicians about the factors associated with musculoskeletal pain amongst female mineworkers, which they can then use in managing and developing interventions aimed at improving the physical health of female mineworkers.

Clinical Implications: The findings of this study highlights the need for medical surveillance of musculoskeletal pain in women miners. A cohort study in a larger study population and across several mines will build on the existing cross-sectional information and help inform workplace interventions for women miners.


Keywords

women; musculoskeletal pain; mining; psychosocial risks; physiotherapy

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