Send to

Choose Destination
Occup Med (Lond). 2008 Dec;58(8):572-9. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqn153.

Musculoskeletal symptoms and perceived work strain among reindeer herders in Sweden.

Author information

Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, University of Gävle, Umeå, Sweden.



There is a shortage of knowledge on the extent of musculoskeletal symptoms in reindeer husbandry.


To investigate the prevalence and relative risk for musculoskeletal symptoms and perceived psychosocial work strain among reindeer herders.


The prevalence of self-reported musculoskeletal symptoms during the last week and last year, respectively, were obtained from male reindeer herders (n=74) of northern Sweden. Prevalence ratios (PRs) were calculated using two reference groups-women of reindeer-herding families (n=53) and men in blue-collar occupations (n=194). Comparisons were made of perceived job strain between the study and reference groups. Associations between job strain factors and the occurrence of musculoskeletal symptoms from different body regions were analysed with regression statistics.


The PRs for musculoskeletal symptoms from the hand/wrist (PR 3.48, 95% CI 1.86-6.50) and lower back (PR 1.44, 95% CI 1.06-1.95) were significantly higher among the reindeer herders in comparison with men working with other blue-collar occupations. The reindeer herders reported significantly higher work demands and decision latitude compared with both reference groups (P<0.05). Significant associations were observed between demands and prevalence of symptoms from the lower back (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.01-2.01) and from at least one body region (OR 1.58, 95% CI 1.07-2.32).


The relative risk for musculoskeletal symptoms, particularly from the hands/wrists and lower back, was high among reindeer herders. It is suggested that musculoskeletal symptoms constitute a considerable health problem in modern reindeer husbandry, which calls for implementation of preventive measures addressing psychosocial, physical and socio-economic risk factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center