Characteristics of office workers who benefit most from interventions for preventing neck and low back pain: a moderation analysis

Pain Rep. 2022 May 23;7(3):e1014. doi: 10.1097/PR9.0000000000001014. eCollection 2022 May-Jun.


Introduction: Neck and low back pain are significant health problem in sedentary office workers. Active break and postural shift interventions has been proved to reduce the incidence of new onset of both neck and low back pain.

Objectives: To identify variables that moderate the effects of active breaks and postural shift interventions on the development of neck and low back pain in office workers.

Methods: Using data from a 3-arm (active break, postural shift, and control group) cluster randomized controlled trial (N = 193), we evaluated the moderating effects of age, job position, education level, sex, perceived psychological work demands, number of working hours, and using a chair with lumbar support on the benefits of 2 interventions designed to prevent the development of neck and low back pain in office workers. Moderation analyses were conducted using the Hayes PROCESS macro, with post hoc Johnson-Neyman techniques and logistic regressions.

Results: Significant interactions between intervention groups and 3 moderators assessed at baseline emerged. For the prevention of neck pain, the effect of the active break intervention was moderated by the number of working hours and the effect of the postural shift intervention was moderated by the level of perceived psychological work demands and the number of working hours. For the prevention of low back pain, the effect of postural shift intervention was moderated by having or not having a chair with lumbar support.

Conclusions: The study findings can be used to help determine who might benefit the most from 2 treatments that can reduce the risk of developing neck and low back pain in sedentary workers and may also help us to understand the mechanisms underlying the benefits of these interventions.

Keywords: Active break; Low back pain; Moderator; Neck pain; Postural shift; Sedentary worker.