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Active Work Breaks and Postural Shift for Back and Neck Pain

Back and neck pain are the most common conditions we see in musculoskeletal practice, and are particularly common in sedentary individuals, including office workers.

In a recent study, 1,500 office workers were randomly assigned to:A control groupAn active break group, who performed short active breaks (average of 32 times/day) throughout the course of the day, where they would get up from their desk and move around).A postural shift group, who performed small changes to their sitting posture (average 27 times/day).

Both the postural shifts and the active breaks were monitored by a sensor pad that the participants sat on.

At a 6-month follow up 17% of the active break and postural shift groups experienced an onset of neck pain, compared to 44% in the control group. 9% of the active break group and 7% of the postural shift group reported an onset of low back pain, compared to 33% in the control group.

These findings provide a valuable addition to the current body of literature indicating that activity and variance in posture are useful interventions to help decrease the onset of neck and back pain.

Those interested in how to improve their office environment in order to help prevent work-related pain should inquire about our “12-week desk fitness challenge” ergonomics education program,

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