April/May 2015 (vol. 11/6)

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Home versus workplace for musculoskeletal exercises

The workplace is a more effective environment than the home for carrying out physical exercise to reduce musculoskeletal pain among healthcare workers, this cluster randomised control trial found. Eighteen departments across three Danish hospitals were randomised to two 10-week exercise programmes – comprising five sessions of 10 minutes’ strength-training exercises a week – conducted either at work or home. Two hundred female healthcare workers took part. An instructor supervised the workplace exercises. The home group was given training equipment and posters explaining the exercises. Adherence to the training sessions was 45% in the work group and 21% in the home group (p < 0.001 for difference). Compared with the home group, the workplace group showed significant improvements in back muscle strength p = 0.018), lower self-rated musculoskeletal pain intensity score (p < 0.0003), and reduced use of analgesics (p = 0.013). While significant, the improvement in pain intensity score was relatively small. 

Scandinavian Journal of Work Environment & Health 2015; 41: 153–63. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.3479


Occupational Health at Work April/May 2015 (vol. 11/6) pp47