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.