A review of functional status measures for workers with upper extremity disorders
Salerno, D. F., Copley-Merriman, C., Taylor, T. N., Shinogle, J., and Schulz, R. M.
In order to identify functional status measures for epidemiological studies among workers with mild to moderate disorders of the neck and upper extremity, a literature search was conducted for the years 1966 to 2001. Inclusion criteria were: (1) relevance to neck and upper extremity; (2) assessment among workers; and (3) relevance to mild to moderate disorders. Of 13 instruments reviewed, six measures were tested among workers. The three best measures, depending on the purpose of research, included the standardised Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire, the Upper Extremity Questionnaire, and the Neck and Upper Limb Instrument. Development of a functional protocol is regarded as a realistic enhancement for research of neck and upper extremity disorders in the workplace. For research and clinical practice, measures of functional status, sensitive enough to measure the subtle conditions in mild to moderate disorders, may provide prognostic information about the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders in apparently healthy patients. Appropriate use of functional status questionnaires is imperative for a meaningful portrayal of health.