Workplace-Based Exercise Intervention Improves Work Ability in Office Workers: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4072, Australia
RECOVER Injury Research Centre, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4006, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(15), 2633; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16152633
Received: 3 July 2019 / Revised: 21 July 2019 / Accepted: 22 July 2019 / Published: 24 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Workplace Interventions for the Prevention or Amelioration of Musculoskeletal Problems in the Working Population)
Neck pain is a burden to employers and employees amenable to improvement with neck/shoulder strengthening exercises. However, the benefits of such interventions on office workers’ work ability remains unknown. This study evaluated the effects of a 12-week combined ergonomics and neck/shoulder strengthening exercise intervention (EET, n = 177, mean age 41.7 years, 26% female), versus a 12-week combined ergonomics and health promotion intervention (EHP, n = 173, mean age 43 years, 29% female) on work ability among office workers. Work ability was measured by a single question. Differences in the work ability score were analyzed using the intention-to-treat (ITT) and per-protocol (i.e., adherence ≥70%) analyses for between- and within-group differences at baseline, 12 weeks, and 12 months. A sub-group analysis was performed for neck cases, defined as reporting neck pain as ≥3 (out of 10). No significant between-group differences for work ability were observed in the general population, and subgroup of neck cases. A significant group-by-time interaction effect at 12 weeks and the trend for significance at 12 months favored the EET group in the per-protocol analysis of the neck cases. EET was effective in increasing work ability post-intervention and potentially, in the long-term, in symptomatic participants with ≥70% adherence to the intervention. However, EET was not superior to EHP.