Introduction Musculoskeletal pain (MSKP) is common and contributes to sickness absence among people of working age. Little is known about the occurrence of MSKP in staff working in Sexual Health (SH).
Methods SH staff working in a large integrated service completed a questionnaire exploring MSKP at several different anatomical sites, its severity and impact on work and personal life.
Results 39/80 (49%) questionnaires were completed. One staff member reporting pre-existing MSK problems was excluded. 92% respondents were female. 61% of doctors and 85% of nurses reported MSKP. Low back (LB) pain was more common in nurses (76%) than doctors (27%). However, involvement of single or multiple sites and overall impact were comparable for both groups. Those with/without pain were not significantly different in terms of age, median time working in SH or types of routine procedures. The most common site of pain was LB (54%). Pain intensity was on average moderately severe during the day (29%) and more severe at night (46%). Moderate to fairly severe impact was reported for work/daily routine (34%), social activities/hobbies (29%), sleep (29%), fatigue/low energy (26%) and emotional wellbeing (23%).
In terms of impact including seeking healthcare, using analgesia, missing work and interference with normal/recreational activities the most common sites implicated were LB, neck and hand pain in that order.
Discussion MSKP is very common among SH staff and causes significant impact professionally and personally. Reassuringly, symptoms were not markedly associated with any particular clinical procedure.