Edorium Journal of

Occupational and Environmental Medicine

 
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Review Article
 
Work-related upper limb "overuse" syndromes: A review of historical descriptions and interpretations suggesting a somatic origin
Jørgen Riis Jepsen
Associate professor, Consultant, Department of Occupational Medicine, Hospital of South-western Jutland, Østergade 81-83, DK-6700 Esbjerg.

Article ID: 100003O01JJ2016
doi:10.5348/O01-2016-3-JJ-2

Address correspondence to:
Jørgen Riis Jepsen
MD, Associate professor, Consultant, Department of Occupational Medicine
Hospital of South-western Jutland
Østergade 81-83, DK-6700
Esbjerg

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How to cite this article
Jepsen JR. Work-related upper limb "overuse" syndromes: A review of historical descriptions and interpretations suggesting a somatic origin. Edorium J Occup Environ Med 2016;2:8–18.


Abstract
The historical descriptions of chronic upper limb "overuse" pain syndromes reflect contemporary work-related conditions. Therefore, the former theories about the character and pathogenesis of these conditions are still of interest. The first case studies and case series related these conditions to abnormalities in the nervous system or muscles. The general opinion gradually changed and a dysfunction of the central nervous system, a "neurosis" was assumed, because no underlying lesion of the nervous system could be identified and many patients appeared to be mentally ill. This narrative review discusses the symptoms and findings in the physical examination reported in the first historical descriptions and interpretations at that time. There is evidence for an involvement of the peripheral nerves in the pathogenesis of these syndromes although this was not demonstrated by systematical neurological examinations at the time.

Keywords: Historical medicine, Nerve afflictions, Neurological examination, Occupational medicine, Upper limb disorders, Work-related disorders


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Author Contributions
Jørgen Riis Jepsen – Substantial contributions to conception and design, Acquisition of data, Analysis and interpretation of data, Drafting the article, Revising it critically for important intellectual content, Final approval of the version to be published
Guarantor of submission
The corresponding author is the guarantor of submission.
Source of support
None
Conflict of interest
Authors declare no conflict of interest.
Copyright
© 2016 Jørgen Riis Jepsen. This article is distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided the original author(s) and original publisher are properly credited. Please see the copyright policy on the journal website for more information.



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