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J Occup Med Toxicol. 2007 Oct 29;2:12.

Occupational medical prophylaxis for the musculoskeletal system: A function-oriented system for physical examination of the locomotor system in occupational medicine (fokus(C)).

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  • 1Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Health Service, P,O, Box 21 05 80, 30405 Hannover, Germany. michael.spallek@volkswagen.de.


Occupational physicians are very often confronted with questions as to the fitness of the postural and locomotor systems, especially the spinal column. Occupational medical assessment and advice can be required by patients with acute symptoms, at routine check-ups, by persons who have problems doing certain jobs, and for expert medical reports as to the fitness of persons with chronic disorders or after operations. Therefore, for occupational medical purposes a physical examination must aim primarily to investigate functions and not structures or radiologic evidence. The physical examination should be structured systematically and according to regions of the body and, together with a specific (pain) anamnesis should provide a basis for the medical assessment.This paper presents a function-oriented system for physical examination of the locomotor system, named fokus(C) (Funktionsorientierte Koerperliche Untersuchungssystematik, also available on DVD). fokus(C) has been developed with a view to its relevance for occupational medical practice and does not aim primarily to provide a precise diagnosis. Decisive for an occupational medical assessment of disorders of the musculoskeletal system is rather information about functional disorders and any impairment of performance or mobility which they can cause. The division of the physical examination into a rapid screening phase and a subsequent more intensive functional diagnostic phase has proved its practicability in many years of day-to-day use. Here, in contrast to the very extensive measures recommended for orthopaedic and manual diagnosis, for reasons of efficiency and usability of the system in routine occupational medical examinations the examination is structured according to the findings. So it is reduced to that which is most necessary and feasible.

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