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Work-related musculoskeletal symptoms in otorhinolaryngology and their relationship with physical activity. A nationwide survey

  • D Lobo (a1), M A Gandarillas (a2), S Sánchez-Gómez (a3) and R Megía (a1)



The main objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal symptoms in otolaryngology and head and neck surgery specialists and trainees in Spain, and to measure the effect that physical exercise could have on muscular discomfort.


A cross-sectional survey was administered between September and December 2017 to practising otolaryngologists.


Four hundred and three ENT surgeons responded, with a median age of 44.9 years, and 89.8 per cent reported discomfort or physical symptoms that they attributed to surgical practice. More female surgeons reported musculoskeletal symptoms (92.8 per cent vs 87.1 per cent; p = 0.04). When the level of physical activity was compared with the frequency of physical discomfort, no significant difference was found.


This study has shown a high prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among ENT surgeons in Spain but has failed to demonstrate an important role of physical exercise in the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Dr David Lobo, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla, Av. Valdecilla, Santander 39008, Spain E-mail:


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Dr D Lobo takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper



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