Tattoo artists and dental workers have similar musculoskeletal pain patterns

A. Weisman, T. Yona, U. Gottlieb, R. Ingel, Y. Masharawi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Tattoo artists are an understudied population with regards to musculoskeletal (MSK) pain. Aims: To explore the characteristics of MSK pain among Israeli tattoo artists and determine whether they are similar to those of dental workers. Methods: An online survey including demographics and the Hebrew version of the Extended Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire was disseminated via Israeli social media groups. We directly compared tattoo artists, dental workers and office workers as a reference group. Results: Altogether, 114 tattoo artists, 161 dental workers and 296 office workers responded. The most prevalent pain sites were lower back (56%), neck (47%) and hand (36%) among office workers; neck (67%), lower back (62%) and upper back (42%) among the dental workers; and lower back (72%), neck (66%) and hand (55%) among tattoo artists. Contrast analysis suggested office workers were less likely to report pain in the previous 12 months compared with dental workers and tattoo artists (adjusted odds ratios [95% confidence intervals]: ORs [95% CIs] for upper limb pain: 1.13 [1.01-1.28], neck pain: 1.3 [1.15-1.47], upper back pain: 1.27 [1.12-1.43] and low back pain: 1.15 [1.02-1.3]). No significant differences were observed between dental workers and tattoo artists (upper limb pain: 1.18 [0.9-1.54], neck pain: 1.06 [0.81-1.4], upper back pain: 1.22 [0.94-1.58] and low back pain: 1.24 [0.95-1.64]). Conclusions: Tattoo artists and dental workers have similar MSK pain characteristics and are different from those of office workers. These characteristics are seemingly a direct result of the physical demands associated with their line of work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Chronic pain
  • ergonomics
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • occupational health
  • tattooists


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