A cluster-randomized trial of workplace ergonomics and neck-specific exercise versus ergonomics and health promotion for office workers to manage neck pain – a secondary outcome analysis

Article


Johnston, Venerina, Chen, Xiaoqi, Welch, Alyssa, Sjogaard, Gisela, Comans, Tracy A., McStea, Megan, Straker, Leon, Melloh, Markus, Pereira, Michelle and O'Leary, Shaun. 2021. "A cluster-randomized trial of workplace ergonomics and neck-specific exercise versus ergonomics and health promotion for office workers to manage neck pain – a secondary outcome analysis ." BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 22 (1), pp. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-021-03945-y
Article Title

A cluster-randomized trial of workplace ergonomics and neck-specific exercise versus ergonomics and health promotion for office workers to manage neck pain – a secondary outcome analysis

ERA Journal ID15809
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsJohnston, Venerina, Chen, Xiaoqi, Welch, Alyssa, Sjogaard, Gisela, Comans, Tracy A., McStea, Megan, Straker, Leon, Melloh, Markus, Pereira, Michelle and O'Leary, Shaun
Journal TitleBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Journal Citation22 (1), pp. 1-12
Article Number68
Number of Pages12
Year12 Jan 2021
PublisherBioMed Central Ltd.
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1471-2474
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-021-03945-y
Web Address (URL)https://bmcmusculoskeletdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12891-021-03945-y
Abstract

Background
Neck pain is prevalent among office workers. This study evaluated the impact of an ergonomic and exercise training (EET) intervention and an ergonomic and health promotion (EHP) intervention on neck pain intensity among the All Workers and a subgroup of Neck Pain cases at baseline.

Methods
A 12-month cluster-randomized trial was conducted in 14 public and private organisations. Office workers aged ≥18 years working ≥30 h per week (n = 740) received an individualised workstation ergonomic intervention, followed by 1:1 allocation to the EET group (neck-specific exercise training), or the EHP group (health promotion) for 12 weeks. Neck pain intensity (scale: 0–9) was recorded at baseline, 12 weeks, and 12 months. Participants with data at these three time points were included for analysis (n = 367). Intervention group differences were analysed using generalized estimating equation models on an intention-to-treat basis and adjusted for potential confounders. Subgroup analysis was performed on neck cases reporting pain ≥3 at baseline (n = 96).

Results
The EET group demonstrated significantly greater reductions in neck pain intensity at 12 weeks compared to the EHP group for All Workers (EET: β = − 0.53 points 95% CI: − 0.84– − 0.22 [36%] and EHP: β = − 0.17 points 95% CI: − 0.47–0.13 [10.5%], p-value = 0.02) and the Neck Cases (EET: β = − 2.32 points 95% CI: − 3.09– − 1.56 [53%] and EHP: β = − 1.75 points 95% CI: − 2.35– − 1.16 [36%], p = 0.04). Reductions in pain intensity were not maintained at 12 months with no between-group differences observed in All Workers (EET: β = − 0.18, 95% CI: − 0.53–0.16 and EHP: β = − 0.14 points 95% CI: − 0.49–0.21, p = 0.53) or Neck Cases, although in both groups an overall reduction was found (EET: β = − 1.61 points 95% CI: − 2.36– − 0.89 and EHP: β = − 1.9 points 95% CI: − 2.59– − 1.20, p = 0.26).

Conclusion
EET was more effective than EHP in reducing neck pain intensity in All Workers and Neck Cases immediately following the intervention period (12 weeks) but not at 12 months, with changes at 12 weeks reaching clinically meaningful thresholds for the Neck Cases. Findings suggest the need for continuation of exercise to maintain benefits in the longer term.

KeywordsNeck pain; Exercise; Health promotion; Workplace; Ergonomics
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420106. Physiotherapy
420603. Health promotion
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
Curtin University
Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland
University of Western Australia
National Healthcare Group, Singapore
Department of Health, Queensland
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