Effective workplace interventions to prevent upper extremity disorders: a systematic review update
Reasons for the study
Upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) include painful conditions and injuries of the muscles, tendons, joints and nerves that affect the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands. In Canada, upper extremity MSDs and low-back pain are the leading causes of disabling work-related injuries. This systematic review updated a 2008 review of the role of occupational health and safety interventions in the prevention of upper extremity MSDs.
The systematic review was completed in 2016. The team found strong evidence that workplace-based resistance training programs can help prevent and manage upper extremity MSDs.
Moderate evidence was found that stretching exercise programs, workstation forearm supports and vibration feedback on mouse use can help prevent and manage upper extremity MSDs and symptoms. The team also found moderate evidence that electromagnetic (EMG) biofeedback, job stress management and office workstation adjustments on their own (i.e. with minimal worker involvement) have no effect on upper extremity MSDs.
Related scientific publications
- 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.
Related interviews and articles
- Exercise to ease MSD pain. Health and Safety Report: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (Hamilton, ON). November 1, 2015. Available from: https://www.ccohs.ca/newsletters/hsreport/issues/2015/11/ezine.html
- Preventing upper extremity MSDs: What the latest research says. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 78, Fall 2014.
Related research summaries
- What workplace programs help prevent upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders?. Sharing Best Evidence: Institute for Work & Health, October 2016.
Ontario Ministry of Labour