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The effectiveness of physical and organisational ergonomic interventions on low back pain and neck pain: a systematic review
  1. Maurice T Driessen1,2,
  2. Karin I Proper1,2,
  3. Maurits W van Tulder3,
  4. Johannes R Anema1,2,4,
  5. Paulien M Bongers1,2,5,
  6. Allard J van der Beek1,2,4
  1. 1TNO VUmc, Research Center on Physical Activity, Work and Health, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Public and Occupational Health and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Health Sciences and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  4. 4Research Center for Insurance Medicine, AMC-UWV-VUmc, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  5. 5TNO Quality of Life, the Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Karin I Proper, VU University Medical Center, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Department of Public and Occupational Health, van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, the Netherlands; ki.proper{at}vumc.nl

Abstract

Ergonomic interventions (physical and organisational) are used to prevent or reduce low back pain (LBP) and neck pain among workers. We conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on the effectiveness of ergonomic interventions. A total of 10 RCTs met the inclusion criteria. There was low to moderate quality evidence that physical and organisational ergonomic interventions were not more effective than no ergonomic intervention on short and long term LBP and neck pain incidence/prevalence, and short and long term LBP intensity. There was low quality evidence that a physical ergonomic intervention was significantly more effective for reducing neck pain intensity in the short term (ie, curved or flat seat pan chair) and the long term (ie, arm board) than no ergonomic intervention. The limited number of RCTs included make it difficult to answer our broad research question and the results should be interpreted with care. This review, however, provides a solid overview of the high quality epidemiological evidence on the (usually lack of) effectiveness of ergonomic interventions on LBP and neck pain.

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Footnotes

  • Funding This study received funding from The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZONMW).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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