A simple ergonomic intervention for neck and upper back musculoskeletal pain in computer users

Muller, Sabine (2015-04)

Thesis (MScPhysio)--Stellenbosch University, 2015

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Background: The use of computers at school, university, work and for social media is growing and whilst neck pain is common in the general population, computer users have an even higher prevalence. Incorrect workstation ergonomics have been identified as a risk factor for the development of neck pain in computer workers. Aims: To assess the effect of adjusting chair and monitor height of a female office worker’s computer workstation on work related neck and upper back pain intensity, comfort of her sitting posture and disability. Methods: An N=1 study was conducted using the A-B-C design consisting of a computer workstation adjustment involving chair and monitor height of a female office worker. The effect of the intervention was evaluated using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) to measure neck and upper back pain intensity and comfort of sitting position, and the Neck Disability Index to measure disability. The effect of the intervention was assessed over the three phases, consisting of four weeks each. During these phases, the participant could continue with her usual computer work. The results were compiled and tabulated. Results: A reduction in neck and upper back pain intensity as well as an increase in sitting comfort position were found. However these improvements were not statistically or clinically significant. The effect size for pain intensity was 0.76 and for sitting comfort 0.21. The participant reported no disability as measured by the Neck Disability Index, at the start and at the end at the end of the study. Conclusion: The vertical adjustment of this female office worker’s chair and monitor height according to her anthropometrics improved neck and upper back pain intensity and comfort of sitting position. This ergonomic workstation intervention could form part of a practical management option for computer users with neck and upper back pain. Further research is recommended to establish whether these findings are generalizable to the wider community of computer users.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Probleemstelling: Die gebruik van rekenaars by skole, universiteite, werksplekke en vir sosiale doeleindes neem toe. Nek pyn kom dikwels in die algemene bevolking voor, maar dit is meer prevalent in rekenaargebruikers. ‘n Werkstasie wat nie ergonomies korrek opgestel is nie, is geidentifiseer as ‘n risikofaktor vir die ontwikkeling van nekpyn in rekenaar werkers. Doelwitte: Om te bepaal of aanpassings in die stoel- en beeldskerm hoogte van ‘n vroulike kantoor werker se rekenaar werkstasie, ‘n effek het op werksverwante nek en boonste rug pyn, sitgemak en funksionele vermoë. Methode: Die N=1 studie met ‘n A-B-C ontwerp is onderneem en het bestaan uit n rekenaar werkstasie aanpassing waarby die hoogte van die stoel en beeldskerm van ‘n vroulike relenaargebruiker aangepas is. Die effek van die intervensie is ge-evalueer deur middle van die visueel analoogskaal (VAS) om pyn en sitgemak te bepaal; en die Nek Ongeskiktheids Indeks (NOI) om gestremtheid te bepaal. Die effek van die intervensie is oor drie fases, wat elk bestaan het uit vier weke, evalueer. Gedurende die fases, kon die deelnemer met haar gewone rekenaarwerk voortgaan. Die resultate is saamgestel en getabuleer. Resultate: Daar was ‘n vemindering in die intensiteit van nekpyn, boonste rug pyn en die sitgemak van die individu het ook verbeter. Hierdie verbeteringe was egter nie statisties of klinies betekenisvol nie. Die effek grootte vir pyn intensiteit was 0.76 en vir sitgemak was 0.21. Die deelnemer het geen gestremdheid gerapporteer, soos gemeet met die NOI met aanvangs van die studie of teen die einde van die studie nie. Gevolgtrekking: Die vertikale hoogte-aanpassing van die stoel en beeldskerm van hierdie vroulike rekenaar werker volgens haar antropometrie het bygedra tot ‘n verbetering in nek en boonste rug pyn, asook sitgemak. Hierdie ergonomiese werkstasie intervensie kan deel vorm van die praktiese hantering van nek en boonste rug pyn in rekenaargebruikers. Verdere navorsing wod aanbeveel om te bepaal of hierdie bevindinge veralgemeenbaar is na die wyer gemeenskap van rekenaarverbruikers.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96938
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