Worker health and wellness Musculoskeletal disorders

Stretching, resistance training programs could limit MSDs: study

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Photo: FangXiaNuo/iStockphoto

Toronto – Workplace training programs that emphasize stretching and resistance can help prevent and manage upper-extremity musculoskeletal disorders, according to a recent report.

Researchers from the Institute for Work & Health found “strong evidence” that resistance training aids neck, shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist and hand health. They also found “moderate evidence” that stretching programs, workstation forearm supports and computer mouse vibration feedback prevents and manages upper-extremity MSDs.

Resistance training includes exercises in which muscles contract against an external force to build muscle strength, tone, mass or endurance. Examples include the use of dumbbells, rubber exercise tubing or one’s body weight. Stretching programs could include yoga. Researchers said other programs such as job stress management, electromagnetic biofeedback and workstation adjustments without effective worker involvement do not appear to prevent or manage MSDs.

“Employers should consider implementing these prevention measures if they’re suitable to the workplace,” Dwayne Van Eerd, an associate scientist at IWH and the co-leader of the review, said in a press release.

The IWH review was published Nov. 12 in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.