Original Research

The effect of a workstation chair and computer screen height adjustment on neck and upper back musculoskeletal pain and sitting comfort in office workers

Nicole van Vledder, Quinette Louw
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 71, No 1 | a279 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v71i1.279 | © 2015 Nicole van Vledder, Quinette Louw | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 May 2015 | Published: 10 November 2015

About the author(s)

Nicole van Vledder, Nicole van Vledder Physiotherapy, Diep River, South Africa
Quinette Louw, Division of Physiotherapy, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa


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Abstract

Aims: To assess the effect of a vertical height adjustment of the chair and visual display unit (VDU) on work-related upper quadrant musculoskeletal pain (WRUQMP) and sitting comfort in office workers. The upper quadrant refers to the occiput, cervical and upper thoracic spine, including the clavicles and scapulae.

Methods: A single subject (N = 1) study, in which the subject serves as her own control, was conducted using the ABC design. An ergonomic workstation adjustment of VDU and chair height was compared to the subject’s usual workstation settings. Pain and sitting comfort was measured using visual analogue scales (VAS). The subject was assessed over three four-week phases as she performed her typical VDU work. The results were compiled and tabulated.

Results: Both the mean and variance in pain intensity decreased after the workstation intervention. A deterioration in sitting comfort was noted.

Conclusion: The vertical height adjustment of the chair and visual display unit may have contributed to a decrease in work-related upper quadrant musculoskeletal pain in this subject. This safe, economical workstation intervention may be a practical management option for the computer user suffering from work-related upper quadrant musculoskeletal pain. Further research into the measurement of comfort whilst sitting at a computer workstation is recommended.


Keywords

computer users, ergonomic, musculoskeletal pain, sitting comfort

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