What workplace programs help prevent upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders?
In order to provide an update on what workplace interventions are effective in helping prevent upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders, a systematic review was conducted by a review team consisted of 11 researchers from Canada, Europe and the United States with expertise in systematic review methodology or MSD intervention.
Stakeholders from Ontario Canada were engaged throughout the project to support the team in refining and developing practical messaged based on the evidence that was found. These stakeholders formed an advisory group that represented employers, labour groups, ergonomists, disability management practitioners and policy makers. The literature review covered studies from 2008- 2013.
The research team found strong evidence of a positive effect in preventing upper extremity MSDs for workplace-based resistance training1. In this review these programs ranged from 20 minutes to one hour per week of exercises that causes muscles to contract against an external resistance (i.e. rubber exercise tubing, dumbbells etc.). There was moderate level of evidence to support that vibration feedback on mouse use, workstation forearm support or even stretching exercising programs had a positive effect in prevention upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders.
1 References: Van Eerd D, Munhall C, Irvin E, Rempel D, Brewer S, van der Beek AJ, Dennerlein JT, Tullar J, Skivington K, Pinion C, Amick B. Effectiveness of workplace interventions in the prevention of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders and symptoms: an update of the evidence. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2016;73(1):62-70. doi:10.1136/oemed-2015-102992.