Objective: Interventions such as physiotherapy and ergonomic adjustments play a major role in the treatment of most work-related complaints of the arm, neck, and/or shoulder (CANS). We evaluated whether conservative interventions have a significant impact on outcomes for work-related CANS. Study Design and Setting: A systematic review was conducted. Only (randomized) trials studying interventions for patients suffering from work-related CANS were included. Interventions may include exercises, relaxation, physical applications, and workplace adjustments. Two authors independently selected the trials, assessed methodological quality, and extracted data. Results: We included 26 studies (in total 2,376 patients); 23 studies included patients with chronic nonspecific complaints. Over 30 interventions were evaluated and 7 main subgroups of interventions could be determined, of which the subgroup "exercises" was the largest one. Overall, the quality of the studies appeared to be poor. Conclusion: There is limited evidence for the effectiveness of exercises when compared to massage, adding breaks during computer work, massage as add-on treatment to manual therapy, manual therapy as add-on treatment to exercises, and some keyboards in people with carpal tunnel syndrome when compared to other keyboards or placebo. For other interventions no clear effectiveness could be demonstrated.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Ergonomics, Physiotherapy, Randomized clinical trial, Systematic review, Upper extremity disorder, Work related
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2006.05.006, hdl.handle.net/1765/36323
Journal Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
Verhagen, A.P, Karels, C.H, Bierma-Zeinstra, S.M, Feleus, A, Dahaghin, S, Burdorf, A, & Koes, B.W. (2007). Exercise proves effective in a systematic review of work-related complaints of the arm, neck, or shoulder. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 60(2). doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2006.05.006