Dr. Anglica Lang (PhD) in red, along with team members, calibrating sensors on farmer prior to movement. Photo by Merle Massie.

Farm shoulder injury research at CCRAH

Shoulder pain research on farmers at the Canadian Centre for Rural and Agricultural Health

The Canadian Centre for Rural and Agricultural Health is home to the Musculoskeletal Health and Ergonomics Laboratory, led by Dr. Angelica Lang (PhD). 

One of Dr. Lang's research projects on farm injuries, specifically shoulder injuries in farmers, recently made the news.

The Saskatoon Star Phoenix profiled Dr. Lang's current project, which investigates shoulder movement during typical farm tasks. 

Using small sensors placed strategically on a farmer's arms, upper back, and breastbone, Lang uses computer data capture to record things like rotation, flex, and angle. Once the sensors are in place, farmers spend about an hour performing normal farm tasks, with their movements captured and recorded. 

Farmers have been recorded performing tasks such as using tools such as wrenches or drills, tossing hay bales, shoveling, climbing seed drill tanks with bags, and using cattle squeezes. 

Farmer shoveling. Dr. Lang and team recording. Photo by Merle Massie. 2023

Photo: farmer Ryan Massie shoveling. Dr. Lang in background. Photo by Merle Massie, 2023

 Lang has issued a call for more farmers to offer their time. Jeremy Walter, a member of the board of directors for the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, believes that the information will be valuable.

Welter told the Star Phoenix that newer farmers are more willing to think about health and safety, and to take precautions. Lang's research will help farmers move better to stop injuries before they happen, and to take care of any injuries that they do get.  

Farmers who farm within a reasonable distance from Saskatoon are encouraged to call the Canadian Centre for Rural and Agricultural Health, to volunteer for the shoulder study. Both those who have existing shoulder pain, and those who are fine but would like to participate in the study, are welcome.

Farmers can call 306-966-8286 and Dr. Lang and her team will get in touch.