Background: Sit-stand workstations are proposed solutions to reduce sedentary time at work. Numerous companies are using them to mitigate health concerns such as musculoskeletal discomfort.
Objective: To review the literature on sit-stand workstations and low back discomfort.
Method: We conducted a meta-analysis on literature published before 17 November 2016 that addressed the relationship between sit-stand workstations and musculoskeletal discomfort, focusing on the low back.
Results: Twelve articles were identified and eight that presented results in means (SD) were included. Among a pain-free population, the standardised mean difference was -0.230 for low back discomfort with use of sit-stand workstations. When applying the SMD to studies using the 10-point pain scale, the effect estimates ranged between -0.30 and -0.51.
Conclusion: sit-stand workstations may reduce low back pain among workers. Further research is needed to help quantify dosage parameters and other health outcomes. Practitioner Summary: In a sedentary population, changing posture may reduce the chance of developing low back pain. The literature lacks studies on specific populations such as those who have pre-existing low back pain and also does not adequately address the dosage of sit-stand time required to help reduce pain.
Keywords: Sit-stand workstation; height adjustable workstation; low back pain; musculoskeletal discomfort; sit-stand desk.