Physical Exercise Is Confirmed to Reduce Low Back Pain Symptoms in Office Workers: A Systematic Review of the Evidence to Improve Best Practices in the Workplace

J Funct Morphol Kinesiol. 2019 Jul 5;4(3):43. doi: 10.3390/jfmk4030043.


This systematic review aimed to analyze the effects of a physical exercise (PE) program on low back pain (LBP) symptoms of office workers and the modification of flexibility and range of motion (ROM), muscular strength, and quality of life (QoL). A literature research was performed on PubMed, Scopus, MEDLINE, and SPORTDiscus from April to May 2018. The keyword "low back pain" was associated with "office worker" OR "VDT operators" OR "office employees" OR "workplace" AND "exercise", OR "exercise therapy" OR "physical activity". Inclusion criteria were a home- or work-based exercise protocol for office workers with LBP symptoms and pre- to post-intervention evaluation of LBP symptoms. Three researchers independently examined all abstracts. The modified Cochrane methodological quality criteria were used for quality assessment and 11 articles were included. Exercise protocols were performed from 6 weeks to 12 months, 1-5 day per week, lasting 10-60 min for each session. Physical Exercise in the workplace improved all the considered outcomes. The best improvement was recorded in supervised protocols and in video-supported protocols performed in the workplace. The effect may be generated with small duration sessions during the working day, with only 10-15 min of adapted exercise to be performed 3-5 days per week.

Keywords: exercise; low back pain; office worker; review; workplace.

Publication types

  • Review