A large and increasing number of the work force in the population spend their work hours at the keyboard. There is evidence that repetitive high levels of static work, or extreme working postures involving the neck-shoulder muscles are an increased risk for chronic neck-shoulder pain. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of dynamic computer working (DCW), using a mobile application to the desk surface, on pain characteristics and biomarkers in office workers. We included 10 female subjects. All subjects answered questionnaires about general health, pain intensity and characteristics. The pressure pain threshold (PPT), neck range and motion, neck and shoulder strength were measured. Microdialysis was conducted in trapezius muscle. Measurements were performed before and 4 weeks after DCW. Multivariate analysis, orthogonal partial least square discriminate analysis (OPLS-DA) and univariate analysis paired test, Wilcoxon, was performed. There was significant improvement in reported neck pain, quality of life, and psychological distress after 4 weeks DCW. The PPT and strength in neck and shoulder were significantly increased after DCW. A significant OPLS-DA model showed clear separation between the samples collected before and after 4 weeks DCW. In conclusion, these results show that keyboard work at a movable desk application might decrease the risk of repetitive strain injuries in the neck and shoulder muscles.
Keywords: biomarkers; chronic pain; computer working; neck/shoulder pain; work-related neckpain.