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Factors affecting finger and hand pain in workers with HAVS
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    Pain and its management are important aspects of hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).


    To determine the factors associated with finger and hand pain in workers with HAVS and, specifically, to assess the impact of several neurological variables as well as the vascular component of HAVS, grip strength and age.


    We assessed men with HAVS at a hospital occupational medicine clinic over 2 years. Subjects scored finger and hand pain separately using the Borg Scale (0–10). The possible predictors we evaluated included the Stockholm Neurological Scale (SNS) and Stockholm Vascular Scale (SVS) stages, current perception threshold (CPT), carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), ulnar neuropathy, grip strength and age. We carried out nerve conduction testing to confirm the presence of CTS and ulnar neuropathy and measured CPT in the fingers at 2000 Hz, 250 Hz and 5 Hz corresponding to A-beta (large myelinated), A-delta (small myelinated) and C (unmyelinated) fibres, respectively. We calculated Spearman rank correlations to examine the relation between finger and hand pain and possible predictor variables.


    Among the 134 subjects, the median (25th–75th percentile) pain scores were 6 (4–8) for the fingers and 5 (1–7) for the hands. We found statistically significant correlations with finger pain for the SVS stage (r = 0.239; P < 0.01) and CTS (r = 0.184; P < 0.05). The only statistically significant correlation identified for hand pain was a negative correlation with grip strength (r = −0.185; P < 0.05).


    Management of finger and hand pain in HAVS should focus on the correlates we have identified.

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