Effectiveness of workplace rehabilitation interventions in the treatment of work-related upper extremity disorders: a systematic review

J Hand Ther. Apr-Jun 2004;17(2):267-73. doi: 10.1197/j.jht.2004.02.012.


The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the available evidence on workplace rehabilitation interventions for work-related upper extremity disorders (WRUEDs). The literature search identified a total of 811 abstracts from Medline, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and EMBASE databases. The abstracts were independently assessed by four reviewers and 53 full-text articles were identified. Twenty-one studies were then randomly allocated to two pairs of reviewers. Using a 24-item critical appraisal form, the reviewers evaluated the articles for quality and level of evidence. During this process, an additional 13 articles were discarded, resulting in eight studies. The effectiveness of these studies was limited by small sample sizes, lack of standardized outcome measures, and inadequate reporting of interventions and results. The findings of this review indicate that the evidence for workplace interventions for WRUEDs has not been established. This systematic review provides a rigorous analysis of workplace interventions for WRUEDs and emphasizes the need for further research in this area.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Occupational Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Occupational Health Services*
  • Upper Extremity / physiopathology*