Diagnostic criteria for musculoskeletal disorders for use in occupational healthcare or research: a scoping review of consensus- and synthesised-based case definitions.

Affiliation

van der Molen HF(1), Visser S(2), Alfonso JH(3), Curti S(4), Mattioli S(4), Rempel D(5), Roquelaure Y(6), Kuijer PPFM(2), Tamminga SJ(2).
Author information:
(1)Department of Public and Occupational Health, Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Netherlands Center for Occupational Diseases, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. [Email]
(2)Department of Public and Occupational Health, Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Netherlands Center for Occupational Diseases, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
(3)Department of Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology, National Institute of Occupational Health, Oslo, Norway.
(4)Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
(5)Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, USA.
(6)Univ Angers, CHU Angers, Univ Rennes, Inserm, EHESP, Irset
(Institut de recherche en santé, environnement et travail), UMR_S 1085, F-49000, Angers, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to identify case definitions of diagnostic criteria for specific musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) for use in occupational healthcare, surveillance or research. METHODS: A scoping review was performed in Medline and Web of Science from 2000 to 2020 by an international team of researchers and clinicians, using the Arksey and O'Malley framework to identify case definitions based on expert consensus or a synthesis of the literature. Seven MSDs were considered: non-specific low back pain (LBP), lumbosacral radicular syndrome (LRS), subacromial pain syndrome (SAPS), carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), lateral or medial elbow tendinopathy, and knee and hip osteoarthritis (OA). Case definitions for occupational healthcare or research were charted according to symptoms, signs and instrumental assessment of signs, and if reported, on work-related exposure criteria. RESULTS: In total, 2404 studies were identified of which 39 were included. Fifteen studies (38%) reported on non-specific LBP, followed by knee OA (n = 8;21%) and CTS (n = 8;21%). For non-specific LBP, studies agreed in general on which symptoms (i.e., pain in lower back) and signs (i.e., absence of red flags) constituted a case definition while for the other MSDs considerable heterogeneity was found. Only two studies (5%), describing case definitions for LBP, CTS, and SAPS and lateral and medial elbow tendinopathy respectively, included work-related exposure criteria in their clinical assessment. CONCLUSION: We found that studies on non-specific LBP agreed in general on which symptoms and signs constitute a case definition, while considerable heterogeneity was found for the other MSDs. For prevention of work-related MSDs, these MSD case definitions should preferably include work-related exposure criteria.