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Abstract

Abstract

Sign language interpreting is commonly associated with musculoskeletal injuries secondary to repetitive strain. This mixed methods study sought to identify the musculoskeletal symptoms experienced specifically by video interpreters (VIs), to demonstrate that VIs gain ergonomic knowledge after participation in a 6-hour workshop, and to determine whether or not participation in the workshop is associated with improved posture and lessened complaints of musculoskeletal pain. One hundred and one video interpreters across the United States and Canada participated: 78 intervention participants who attended the workshop and 23 control participants who did not attend. Ergonomic knowledge was measured using a pre and post workshop quiz. Dynamic pre and post-workshop photos of participants’ posture were scored with a modified REEDCO Posture Score Sheet. Musculoskeletal symptoms at baseline and pre-workshop pain ratings using the Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) were collected via a survey. A four-week post-workshop NPRS of the identified body region was elicited via email. Results showed that participants identified the neck as the body region with the highest incidence of pain. Examination of subgroups within the sample revealed there was no correlation between baseline musculoskeletal pain levels and years of VRS employment. Those who self-reported a pre-existing condition had no decrease in musculoskeletal pain, whereas participants without pre-existing conditions demonstrated significant decrease. Participants who attended the workshop improved their ergonomic knowledge compared with controls, with the greatest workshop-related gains made by participants with the least initial level of knowledge. Furthermore, attendance at the workshop was associated with improved posture and decreased pain regardless of initial knowledge. These data suggest that attendance at the ergonomic workshop is effective in improving posture and pain management for VIs across a broad range of pre-workshop ergonomic knowledge.

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