Effective interventions for cumulative trauma disorders of the upper extremity in computer users: practice models based on systematic review

Work. 2012;42(1):153-72.


Objective: A systematic review of over 4600 abstracts was performed to address the effectiveness of the current cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) interventions focused on the upper extremities of computer users.

Participants: The researchers were the study participants. They included one Professor of Occupational Therapy and five Masters of Occupational Therapy Students from a Midwestern University. The Professor of Occupational Therapy has been practicing for 29 years.

Methods: The researchers employed stringent inclusion criteria for this review based on similar systematic review papers. Criteria for high quality qualitative research were incorporated to include studies other than randomized-controlled trials. This approach considered knowledge gained from specific interventions that were studied in greater detail with fewer clients.

Results: The results of this study identified 25 articles that met the inclusion criteria. Further review ranked the selected articles into high, medium, or low quality based on criteria adapted from other studies. The highest levels of evidence were found for education and training in ergonomics, forearm supports, ergonomic keyboards, ergonomic mice, and exercise/rest breaks.

Conclusions: Two models of practice were created from this review to assist occupational therapists or other professionals with intervention strategies for computer users with CTDs.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Ergonomics / instrumentation
  • Ergonomics / methods
  • Humans
  • Midwestern United States
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Universities
  • Upper Extremity / injuries*
  • User-Computer Interface*