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What is the best exercise to prevent office work-related neck pain 

Next to back pain, neck pain is the second most common musculoskeletal problem. Approximately 15% of the population are thought to report a new episode of neck pain each year. However in office workers that figure is increased to 30-50%. While there is a significant amount of research regarding the treatment of neck pain, however little research exists regarding prevention. This is an area where office ergonomics, office fitness and workplace health is of critical importance.



This recent study was a systematic review and meta-analysis of 5 studies, with a total of over 1,700 subjects (80% of them office workers). 


There was moderate evidence that performing some form of exercise was associated with a decreased incidence of new neck pain in the short term (<12 months). Similar to the research related to lower back pain, it seems that the modality of exercise did not have a significant impact on injury risk. This is useful as it suggests that specific neck exercise, desk stretches or postural correction whilst possibly having an additive effect, is not as important as just being generally active. 


Source article: Teichert, F., Karner, V., Döding, R., Saueressig, T., Owen, P. J., & Belavy, D. L. (2023). Effectiveness of Exercise Interventions for Preventing Neck Pain: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy, 53(10), 594-609.


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