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Effectiveness of a feedback signal in a computer mouse on upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms: a randomised, controlled trial with an eight-month follow-up
  1. Eline M Meijer
  1. Academic Medical Center, Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Netherlands
    1. Judith K Sluiter (j.sluiter{at}amc.uva.nl)
    1. Academic Medical Center, Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Netherlands
      1. Monique HW Frings-Dresen (m.frings{at}amc.uva.nl)
      1. Academic Medical Center, Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Netherlands

        Abstract

        Objectives To study the effectiveness of using a computer mouse with a feedback signal for upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms in office workers.

        Methods A RCT with eight months of follow-up. The intervention was a computer mouse with a feedback signal. In total, 354 subjects were allocated to intervention or control group. Electronic questionnaires at baseline, and after four and eight months were used to assess the prevalence and incidence of upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms and disability in the upper extremities. The process was evaluated by software registration.

        Results The intervention resulted in a significant decrease in duration of mouse usage over time. No differences were found in the number of mouse usage rest-breaks. No differences were found in the prevalence (p=0.29) or incidence (p=0.832) of upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms between the groups eight months after baseline. The prevalence decreased from 49% at baseline to 44% after eight months in the control group, while it remained at 36% in the intervention group. The incidence was 21% in the control group and 22% in the intervention group. Among the population with upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms at baseline, the risk of experiencing symptoms after eight months did not differ between the groups (p=0.49). Minor disability was found in both groups. In the intervention group, a lower level of physical disability over time was reported than in the control group (p=0.02).

        Conclusions A feedback signal computer mouse does not affect the prevalence and incidence of upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms, but it does lower disability scores.

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