A cross sectional study on musculoskeletal discomfort and its determinants among agricultural workers in a rural community of Tamil Nadu


  • Parthasarathi Ramanathan Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, K.A.P. Viswanatham Government Medical College, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu
  • Ram Prabhakar Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Theni Government Medical College, Theni, Tamil Nadu
  • Velmurugan Anbu Ananthan Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Theni Government Medical College, Theni, Tamil Nadu




Musculoskeletal discomfort, Rural population, Prevalence, Risk factors, Nordic musculoskeletal questionnaire, Quality of life


Background: Musculoskeletal disorders are the major contributors of disability worldwide. So, the aim of the present study was to estimate the magnitude and the determinants of musculoskeletal discomfort among agricultural workers in a rural area of Tamil Nadu.  

Methods: A cross-sectional community-based study was conducted among 110 subjects aged 15 years and above residing in Veerapandi village, Theni, Tamil Nadu from July to December 2018. A structured questionnaire incorporating nordic musculoskeletal questionnaire was used to collect data. The prevalence of musculoskeletal discomfort (MSD) and its determinants were the main outcome variables. It was analysed with Epi info statistical software. Bivariate and multivariate analysis were done keeping p value<0.05 as statistically significant.  

Results: The mean age of the study population was 39.37±12.75 years. Majority (38.2%) were between 25 to 34 years. 54.5% were feamles. The prevalence of MSD was 63.6% (95% C.I. of 53.9% to 72.6%). Lower back (48.5%) was the most common site of MSD followed by knees (45.75%) and neck (35.7%). In bivariate and multivariate analysis, age, female gender and obesity (BMI ≥25 kg/m2) were the statistically significant determinants of MSD in the study population.  

Conclusions: The prevalence of MSD was very high in the study population. There is a pressing need for introduction of lifestyle modifications in high‐risk groups and initiate rehabilitative measures for those affected.

Author Biography

Ram Prabhakar, Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Theni Government Medical College, Theni, Tamil Nadu



World Health Organization. Musculoskeletal conditions: World Health Organization; 2019 Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/musculoskeletal-conditions. Accessed on 15 October 2020.

Gopalakrishnan S, Ganeshkumar P, Katta A. Study of morbidity profile of a rural population in Tamil Nadu. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research. J Clinic Diagnos Res. 2015;9(2):LC5-9.

Gangopadhyay S, Ghosh T, Das T, Ghoshal G, Das B. Effect of working posture on occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders among the sand core making workers of West Bengal. Cent Eur J Public Heal. 2010;18(1):38-42.

Bihari V, Kesavachandran C, Pangtey BS, Srivastava AK, Mathur N. Musculoskeletal pain and its associated risk factors in residents of National Capital Region. Ind J Occupat Environment Medic. 2011;15(2):59-63.

Lidgren L. The bone and joint decade 2000-2010. Bull World Health Organ. 2003;81(9):629.

Bodhare T, Valsangkar S, Bele S. An epidemiological study of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among construction workers in karimnagar, andhra pradesh. Ind J Comm Med. 2011;36(4):304-7.

Chopra A, Patil J, Billempelly V, Relwani J, Tandle HS. Prevalence of rheumatic diseases in a rural population in western India: a WHO-ILAR COPCORD Study. J Assoc Physicians India. 2001;49:240-6.

Kar SK, Dhara PC. An evaluation of musculoskeletal disorder and socioeconomic status of farmers in West Bengal, India. Nepal Med Coll J. 2007;9(4):245-9.

Srilatha , Maiya Arun G, Bhat V, Sathiakumar N. Prevalence of work-related wrist and hand Musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) among computer users, Karnataka state, India. J Clinic Diagnos Res. 2011;5(3):605-7.

Barr AE, Barbe MF, Clark BD. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the hand and wrist: epidemiology, pathophysiology, and sensorimotor changes. J Orthopaed Spo Physic Ther. 2004;34(10):610-27.

Banerjee P, Gangopadhyay S. A study on the prevalence of upper extremity repetitive strain injuries among the handloom weavers of West Bengal. J Hum Ergol. 2003;32(1):17-22.

Gangopadhyay S, Ray A, Das A, Das T, Ghoshal G, Banerjee P, et al. A study on upper extremity cumulative trauma disorder in different unorganised sectors of West Bengal, India. J Occup Heal. 2003;45(6):351-7.

Kuorinka I, Jonsson B, Kilbom A, Vinterberg H, Biering-Sørensen F, Andersson G, et al. Standardised Nordic questionnaires for the analysis of musculoskeletal symptoms. Appl Ergon. 1987;18(3):233-7.

Dickinson CE, Campion K, Foster AF, Newman SJ, O'Rourke AM, Thomas PG. Questionnaire development: an examination of the Nordic Musculoskeletal questionnaire. Appl Ergon. 1992;23(3):197-201.

de Barros EN, Alexandre NM. Cross-cultural adaptation of the Nordic musculoskeletal questionnaire. Int Nurs Rev. 2003;50(2):101-8.

Kahraman T, Genç A, Göz E. The Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire: cross-cultural adaptation into Turkish assessing its psychometric properties. Disabil Rehabil. 2016;38(21):2153-60.

Fang YX, Li SY, Zhang YN, Zhang P, Wu H, Wang DH. Test-retest reliability of Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire in nurses. Chin J Indust Hygie Occupat Disea. 2013;31(10):753-8.

Pinheiro FA, Troccoli BT, Carvalho CV. Validity of the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire as morbidity measurement tool. Rev Saude Publica. 2002;36(3):307-12.

Pugh JD, Gelder L, Williams AM, Twigg DE, Wilkinson AM, Blazevich AJ. Validity and reliability of an online extended version of the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ-E2) to measure nurses' fitness. J Clin Nurs. 2015;24(23-24):3550-63.

Pingle AS, Pabdit DD. A cross sectional study of Rheumatic Musculoskeletal Disorders (RMSD) in an urban slum population. Ind J Comm Med. 2006;31:244–5.




How to Cite

Ramanathan, P., Prabhakar, R., & Ananthan, V. A. (2020). A cross sectional study on musculoskeletal discomfort and its determinants among agricultural workers in a rural community of Tamil Nadu. International Journal Of Community Medicine And Public Health, 7(12), 4839–4844. https://doi.org/10.18203/2394-6040.ijcmph20205024



Original Research Articles