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Office-cycling while working: An innovative concept to prevent and reduce musculoskeletal pain in office workers - a controlled feasibility study
University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research. University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences. Umea University, Dept of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation; Physiotherapy, Umeå, Sweden,.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7543-4397
Umea University, Dept of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation; Physiotherapy, Umeå, Sweden.
Umea University, Dept of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation; Physiotherapy, Umeå, Sweden.
Umea University, Dept of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation; Physiotherapy, Umeå, Sweden.
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2015 (English)Conference paper, Poster (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background: According to the World Health Organization, WHO, a sedentary lifestyle is the single largest health risk for a number of diseases including musculoskeletal disorders and metabolic diseases. The negative health effects of excessive sitting are not compensated for by shorter bouts of increased physical activity. However, evidence shows that increased physical activity reduces musculoskeletal pain, which is very prevalent in those who are inactive. About 50-70 % of those who work at a computer report musculoskeletal pain and spend on average about 5 hours/day with very low energy metabolism. Work places are therefore an important arena for prevention and intervention by means of reducing sedentary time and increasing physical activity both for general health benefits and effects on the musculoskeletal pain.

Purpose: To test the feasibility of office-cycling in an office work place and explore its potential effects on musculoskeletal pain in office workers.

Methods: Twenty office workers (ages 27-61, 5 males) with musculoskeletal pain participated in this three-week controlled pilot field study. The intervention group (n=10), had access to an innovative customized cycle ergometer (OfficeBiking®) at their regular office workstation whilst performing their usual work tasks. Offie-cycling was an alternative to sitting/standing by their height adjustable office desk; they were instructed to bike as often as comfortable. The control group (n=10) was instructed to continue to work as usual. The experiences of office-cycling and how it influenced work performance was studied with a questionnaire. Musculoskeletal pain was evaluated using pain drawings and pain ratings and participants' total pain was calculated by adding each individuals' self-reported pain from their three most painful areas (NRS 0-10).

Results: Importantly, office-cycling did not reduce self-reported work performance; the majority (9/10) would like daily access; and made suggestions to improve the user-friendliness of the bike. Office-cycling was used regularly (median, 11/15 workdays; median active time 59 min/day IQR 39;91). There was no observed difference regarding either number of self-reported areas of pain (NSAP) or general musculoskeletal pain (GMP) between the intervention group and the control group at baseline. Self-reported GMP decreased in 8 persons in the intervention group which was one more than in the control group (n=7). NSAP decreased in the intervention group (n=7; md -1,0 IQR -2,3;0,0); and the control group (n=5; md -0,5 IQR -1,3;0,3). The difference in total pain (intervention end-baseline) revealed a clinically important change in the intervention group (NRS -2,5, IQR -8,8;4,0) but not in the control group (NRS 0,0 IQR -6,2;2,5).

Conclusions: The results suggest that office-cycling is a feasible method for use in work place interventions with some promising results. Future research suggestions are: underlying mechanisms regarding effects of physical activity on pain in parallel with controlled studies in laboratory environments to investigate dose-effects for metabolic expenditure and optimal pain reduction whilst office-cycling.

Implications: The results in this feasibility study indicate a promising potential of the innovative office-cycling concept to prevent and reduce musculoskeletal pain in sedentary office workers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
office workstation, physical activity, sedentary
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20929OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-20929DiVA: diva2:889345
Conference
World confederation for physical therapy congress, Singapore, 1-4 May, 2015
Available from: 2015-12-23 Created: 2015-12-23 Last updated: 2016-01-12Bibliographically approved

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Björklund, Martin
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