U.S. workplaces have become increasingly sedentary, with resulting negative health effects. Through its Total Worker Health® Program, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends an integrated approach to addressing sedentary work environments. An integrated approach is one that protects workers from work-related injury and illness and helps them advance their overall health and well-being, on and off the job. This document describes organizational practices that can reduce the risks associated with sedentary work.
The most recent Cochrane review of randomized control trials (RCT) involving relief of low back pain using massage was published in 2015. The review examined 25 RCT and found that massage was better than inactivity in the short term for pain relief. They also found that massage was better than active controls in the short and long term for pain relief. Read the full review at the link below.
Musculoskeletal disorders in the form of overexertion caused sprain and strain injuries along with repetitive motion injuries were responsible for costing employers over $16 billion in 2013 and accounted for 27% of all reported injuries. Some of the most common MSDs include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Low Back Pain
- Ligament Sprain
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Muscle Strain
- Plantar fasciitis
These disorders typically occur over a period of time and may have some noticeable signs and symptoms before they progress to a chronic condition. The typical progression may include the following steps:
- Exposure to risk factor (overexertion/repetitive motion)
- Fatigue of the exposed anatomy and limited recovery time
- Soft tissues reach the limit of sustaining the outside forces
- Ache or discomfort progresses to a chronic condition
Prevention and early recognition, and quick, appropriate intervention can stop the progression of these disorders to costly conditions. Some steps to take include:
- Adjust the job to the worker
- Decrease common motions known to cause injury
- Educate employees how to recognize MSDs
- Implement an on-site solution for addressing early signs of MSDs
The Impact of Massage Therapy on Function in Pain Populations—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials: Part I, Patients Experiencing Pain in the General Population
This review of literature regarding the effectiveness of massage therapy for treating pain was overall positive. They found that outcome for pain management using massage was better than sham, no treatment or active treatment. They also found that massage was beneficial for the treatment of anxiety. The authors conclusions based on the evidence in the studies reviewed suggest that massage therapy should be strongly recommended as a pain management option.
Follow the link to read the study.
Click the link to read an interesting NIOSH science blog post regarding carpal tunnel syndrome among poultry workers.
To date, there is little information to assist people interested in purchasing alternative keyboards. While the scientific evidence about whether alternative keyboards prevent musculoskeletal disorders is inconclusive at this time, this document provides basic information about common alternative keyboard designs and their effects on work posture.
European researchers studied the effects of environmental and psychosocial factors and their relationship with musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). The survey was conducted among hospital workers in the UK and they looked at responses relating MSDs to temperature, anxiety, depression, light and noise, and job demand. The most interesting finding from the study was that MSDs of the upper extremity were strongly related to job strain and temperature.
This document is a joint effort between NIOSH and the Canadian Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CRE-MSD).
The purpose of this document is to help practitioners assess working posture for the prevention and control of occupational musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Read more
Warming up before activity is important, especially for those performing strenuous or repetitive jobs.
We have all heard about stretching before or after activity, or as a way to break up repetitive tasks, but should we warm-up? Warming up has been shown to be effective in helping reduce overexertion which can cause sprains and strains of the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Warming up does this by: Read more