Work Type



Fall 11-4-2019

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Holly Roberts PT, DPT, GCS, NCS




Background: During a physical therapy service trip to Zacapa, Guatemala, in March 2019, ten of 106 patients were treated for symptoms of PRSP. Their pain was often exacerbated by repetitive work-related tasks performed with poor posture such as doing laundry by hand, carrying loads overhead, manual labor, and childcare.

Methods: A brief review of the literature was performed to determine global differences in PRSP and effective treatment interventions. PubMed, Collins Memorial Library, and Google Scholar were searched using search terms including “postural-related”, “work-related”, “shoulder pain”, and “global”.

Results: Nine full-text articles were retrieved and reviewed. PRSP was reported in Ethiopian school teachers, Filipino migrant workers in Malaysia, Chinese medical staff working in obstetrics and gynecology, and parents and homecare workers in the United States and Ireland. Causes for pain include engagement in rice cultivation and working in fruit fields, poorly designed work-stations, and repetitive work with arms overhead. PT, education on ergonomics and posture, and environmental interventions are all effective treatments for PRSP.

Conclusion: PRSP is a global issue impacting work productivity and quality of life. In rural and developing regions these issues often arise from physical labor and household chores and although PT has been shown to be an effective intervention, access to skilled PT is often limited in developing countries. As a result of our experience and research, we created a patient handout to educate individuals in Guatemala about ergonomic changes and simple exercises to prevent and treat PRSP.


University of Puget Sound