Journal article
Musculoskeletal symptoms among radiologists in Saudi Arabia: a multi-center cross-sectional study

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Publication Details
Author list: Malak Al Shammari, Ali Hassan, Omran Al Dandan, Mohammed Al Gadeeb and Dalal Bubshait
Publisher: BioMed Central
Publication year: 2019
Journal: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Volume number: 20
Issue number: 1
Start page: 1
End page: 10
Number of pages: 10
ISSN: 1471-2474
Web of Science ID: 000497706200002
PubMed ID: 31727049
Scopus ID: 85075115035


Musculoskeletal symptoms account for the majority of work-related illnesses resulting in a significant economic burden on society. Computer users are subject to unique repetitive strains that predispose them to musculoskeletal symptoms. In the digitalized field of radiology, radiologists spend long hours interpreting medical images on computers. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms among radiologists in Saudi Arabia and their contributing factors.


An online survey was sent to radiologists in all hospitals (academic, public and private) in the major cities of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia covering demographic characteristics, workload (e.g. the time spent at a computer workstation), and workstation environments including the number of monitors as well as the adjustability of the height of the workstation and the viewing distance. This survey of 263 radiologists was conducted in April 2019. It included an evaluation of musculoskeletal symptoms using the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire. The study outcome was the presence of disabling musculoskeletal symptoms in any body region, which restricted the performance of normal activities in the last 12 months. Results were analyzed descriptively using a Chi-square test and logistic regression analysis to estimate the odd ratio of experiencing disabling musculoskeletal symptoms in the last 12 months.


The survey was completed by 198 participants (111 men and 87 women) with a response rate of 75.3%. Most participants (71.2%) were aged below 40 years. A multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed being a female radiologist (OR = 2.7; 95% CI: 1.2–6.5), aged 30–39 years (OR = 4.1; 95% CI: 1.1–15.3), and predominantly reviewing computed tomography (CT) images (OR = 4.1; 95% CI: 1.4–12.3) or ultrasound scans (OR = 5.9; 95% CI: 1.4–25.3) were associated with higher prevalence of disabling musculoskeletal symptoms, compared to those aged below 30 years and those who reviewed various imaging modalities, respectively.


Musculoskeletal symptoms are common among radiologists with lower back and neck pain being the most frequent complaints. Being a female radiologist, aged 30–39 years, and reviewing CT or ultrasound scans were associated with higher rates of disabling musculoskeletal symptoms.

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Last updated on 2020-13-02 at 14:41