The Agony of It All: Musculoskeletal Discomfort in the Reading Room

Rebecca L. Seidel, Elizabeth A. Krupinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the extent and severity of musculoskeletal discomfort in radiologists using a standardized tool, the Cornell Musculoskeletal Discomfort Questionnaire (CMDQ). In addition, we evaluated the influence of demographic factors on the frequency of symptoms, degree of discomfort, interference of symptoms with ability to work, and overall pain. Methods The CMDQ was distributed via an anonymous link to all radiology trainees and faculty at our institution. The questionnaire assessed frequency and location of pain, severity of symptoms, and degree to which discomfort interfered with work. In addition, demographic data were collected. Results The survey was completed by 99 radiologists (39% response rate). The majority (80%) of respondents spent greater than 7 hours per workday at a diagnostic workstation. The neck (66%), lower back (61%), upper back (43%), right shoulder (36%), and right wrist (33%) were the areas where radiologists most frequently reported ache, pain, or discomfort at least once per week. More than 7 hours per day at a computer workstation was significantly associated with higher total pain. Conclusions Musculoskeletal discomfort in the week before the survey was reported by the majority of radiologists and was significantly influenced by demographic factors. Further investigation is needed to understand the causes of radiologists’ discomfort at work and to evaluate interventions to ameliorate these symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1620-1625
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Ergonomics
  • musculoskeletal discomfort
  • occupational health
  • radiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'The Agony of It All: Musculoskeletal Discomfort in the Reading Room'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this