BMJ open 2017 04 117(4) e014914 doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014914
Several studies have found that inappropriate workstations are associated with musculoskeletal disorders. The present cross-sectional study aimed to identify the risk factors of non-specific neck pain (NP) and low back pain (LBP) among computer-using workers.
Observational study with a cross-sectional sample.
This study surveyed 15 companies in Zhejiang province, China.
After excluding participants with missing variables, 417 office workers, including 163 men and 254 women, were analyzed.
Demographic information was collected by self-report. The standard Northwick Park Neck Pain Questionnaire and Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Index, along with other relevant questions, were used to assess the presence of potential occupational risk factors and the perceived levels of pain. Multinomial logistic regression analysis, adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, education, marital status and neck/low back injury, was performed to identify significant risk factors.
Compared with low-level NP, the computer location (monitor not in front of the operator, but on the right or left side) was associated with ORs of 2.6 and 2.9 for medium- and high-level NP, respectively. For LBP, the computer location (monitor not in front) was associated with an OR of 3.2 for high-level pain, as compared with low-level pain, in females. Significant associations were also observed between the office temperature and LBP (OR 5.4 for high vs low), and between office work duration ≥5 years and NP in female office workers (OR 2.7 for medium vs low).
Not having the computer monitor located in front of the operator was found to be an important risk factor for NP and LBP in computer-using female workers. This information may not only enable the development of potential preventive strategies but may also provide new insights for designing appropriate workstations.