n Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa - Ergonomic chair explorative intervention study : effect on chronic upper quadrant musculoskeletal dysfunction, disability and productivity in female computer workers

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1010-2728



Persistent upper quadrant musculoskeletal pain and disability are common in female computer workers; they are associated with a complex relationship between individual, work-related and psychosocial factors. Upper quadrant musculoskeletal dysfunction has been associated with reduced work performance. Although there is lack of evidence for an adjustable office chair on computer workers' upper quadrant dysfunction and productivity, an adjustable office chair may provide a platform to change the computer workstation set-up and thereby have an effect on upper quadrant musculoskeletal structures. The aim of this two single-subject (=1) explorative study was to determine whether an adjustable ergonomic office chair was associated with self-reported improvement in chronic upper quadrant musculoskeletal dysfunction and work productivity among female computer workers, compared to a less adjustable ergonomic office chair. Results found a clinically meaningful short-term reduction in both participants' self-reported upper quadrant pain and perceived muscle tension. One participant's results showed a clinically meaningful reduction in self-reported neck disability and work impairment, resulting from the upper quadrant musculoskeletal dysfunction. The other participants' baseline values for both neck disability and work impairment were too low for a meaningful comparison. Study findings indicated that a height-adjustable ergonomic office chair reduced upper quadrant musculoskeletal dysfunction in two female computer workers. This explorative study forms the foundation for further studies that aim to make office chair recommendations for female computer workers to reduce UQ musculoskeletal dysfunction.

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