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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Iowa Researchers Examine Farmers’ Musculoskeletal Pain and Associations with Agricultural Activities

The University of Iowa’s Dr. Nathan Fethke, assistant professor of occupational and environmental health, Dr. Fredric Gerr, professor of occupational and environmental health, and other researchers associated with the UI’s Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health (GPCAH), recently published initial assessments from their research into the association between specific tasks regularly performed by farmers and associated musculoskeletal health outcomes.

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[Photo: Dr. Nathan Fethke (left) and Dr. Fredric Gerr]

The findings, published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, stated that low back was the most common location of musculoskeletal pain (33.2 percent), followed by the neck/shoulder (30.8 percent) and elbow/wrist/hand (21.6 percent). Statistically significant adjusted associations were observed between performing equipment repair and maintenance and low back pain; milking animals and neck/shoulder pain; and manual material handling and elbow/wrist/hand pain, among others.

These published findings are the first for the observational study that could last up to a maximum duration of 3.5 years.