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Objectives: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in Saudi Arabia are not often reported in the literature. This study aimed to identify musculoskeletal symptoms among otorhinolaryngology residents in Saudi Arabia. Methods: This cross-sectional survey-based study was conducted in May 2018 and included residents registered in the Saudi Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Board Training programme, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire was used to assess musculoskeletal symptoms in addition to demographic and occupational factors, including operating position and the average number of operating hours. Results: A total of 45 residents (response rate: 68.2%) completed the survey, including 33 males (73.3%) and 12 females (26.7%). Most residents (91.1%) reported at least one musculoskeletal symptom. The most commonly reported musculoskeletal over the previous 12 months were shoulder complaints (64.4%) followed by neck complaints (60%). In the short term (i.e. within seven days preceding the survey), neck complaints were more common than shoulder complaints (28.9% versus 20%). Lower back complaints were the most common cause of activity limitation (24.4%) followed by shoulder complaints (13.3%), while those with neck complaints reported it as a cause for visiting a physician (8.9%). Hip and thigh complaints were significantly more frequent among residents with operation times of eight hours or more compared to those who operating for less than eight hours (42.9% versus 5.9%; P = 0.021). Conclusion: A high incidence of shoulder, neck and lower back complaints was found in this study. Residency is an ideal time in an otorhinolaryngologist’s career to implement programmes in ergonomic best practices before bad habits are developed.
Keywords: Otorhinolaryngology; Musculoskeletal Abnormalities; Symptoms and Signs; Workplace; Ergonomics; Saudi Arabia.