Should office workers spend fewer hours at their computer? A systematic review of the literature

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Worldwide, millions of office workers use a computer. Reports of adverse health effects due to computer use have received considerable media attention. This systematic review summarises the evidence for a relationship between the duration of work time spent using the computer and the incidence of hand-arm and neck-shoulder symptoms and disorders. Several databases were systematically searched up to 6 November 2005. Two reviewers independently selected articles that presented a risk estimate for the duration of computer use, included an outcome measure related to hand-arm or neck-shoulder symptoms or disorders, and had a longitudinal study design. The strength of the evidence was based on methodological quality and consistency of the results. Nine relevant articles were identified, of which six were rated as high quality. Moderate evidence was concluded for a positive association between the duration of mouse use and hand-arm symptoms. For this association, indications for a dose-response relationship were found. Risk estimates were in general stronger for the hand-arm region than for the neck-shoulder region, and stronger for mouse use than for total computer use and keyboard use. A pathophysiological model focusing on the overuse of muscles during computer use supports these differences. Future studies are needed to improve our understanding of safe levels of computer use by measuring the duration of computer use in a more objective way, differentiating between total computer use, mouse use and keyboard use, attaining sufficient exposure contrast, and collecting data on disability caused by symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-22
Number of pages12
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
Volume64
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007

Cite this

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title = "Should office workers spend fewer hours at their computer?: A systematic review of the literature",
abstract = "Worldwide, millions of office workers use a computer. Reports of adverse health effects due to computer use have received considerable media attention. This systematic review summarises the evidence for a relationship between the duration of work time spent using the computer and the incidence of hand-arm and neck-shoulder symptoms and disorders. Several databases were systematically searched up to 6 November 2005. Two reviewers independently selected articles that presented a risk estimate for the duration of computer use, included an outcome measure related to hand-arm or neck-shoulder symptoms or disorders, and had a longitudinal study design. The strength of the evidence was based on methodological quality and consistency of the results. Nine relevant articles were identified, of which six were rated as high quality. Moderate evidence was concluded for a positive association between the duration of mouse use and hand-arm symptoms. For this association, indications for a dose-response relationship were found. Risk estimates were in general stronger for the hand-arm region than for the neck-shoulder region, and stronger for mouse use than for total computer use and keyboard use. A pathophysiological model focusing on the overuse of muscles during computer use supports these differences. Future studies are needed to improve our understanding of safe levels of computer use by measuring the duration of computer use in a more objective way, differentiating between total computer use, mouse use and keyboard use, attaining sufficient exposure contrast, and collecting data on disability caused by symptoms.",
keywords = "Arm, Computers/statistics & numerical data, Cumulative Trauma Disorders/etiology, Hand, Humans, Musculoskeletal Diseases/etiology, Neck, Occupational Diseases/etiology, Shoulder, Time Factors",
author = "S IJmker and Huysmans, {M A} and Blatter, {B M} and {van der Beek}, {A J} and {van Mechelen}, W and Bongers, {P M}",
year = "2007",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1136/oem.2006.026468",
language = "English",
volume = "64",
pages = "211--22",
journal = "Occupational and Environmental Medicine",
issn = "1351-0711",
publisher = "BMJ Publishing Group",
number = "4",

}

Should office workers spend fewer hours at their computer? A systematic review of the literature. / IJmker, S; Huysmans, M A; Blatter, B M; van der Beek, A J; van Mechelen, W; Bongers, P M.

In: Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 64, No. 4, 04.2007, p. 211-22.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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T1 - Should office workers spend fewer hours at their computer?

T2 - A systematic review of the literature

AU - IJmker, S

AU - Huysmans, M A

AU - Blatter, B M

AU - van der Beek, A J

AU - van Mechelen, W

AU - Bongers, P M

PY - 2007/4

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AB - Worldwide, millions of office workers use a computer. Reports of adverse health effects due to computer use have received considerable media attention. This systematic review summarises the evidence for a relationship between the duration of work time spent using the computer and the incidence of hand-arm and neck-shoulder symptoms and disorders. Several databases were systematically searched up to 6 November 2005. Two reviewers independently selected articles that presented a risk estimate for the duration of computer use, included an outcome measure related to hand-arm or neck-shoulder symptoms or disorders, and had a longitudinal study design. The strength of the evidence was based on methodological quality and consistency of the results. Nine relevant articles were identified, of which six were rated as high quality. Moderate evidence was concluded for a positive association between the duration of mouse use and hand-arm symptoms. For this association, indications for a dose-response relationship were found. Risk estimates were in general stronger for the hand-arm region than for the neck-shoulder region, and stronger for mouse use than for total computer use and keyboard use. A pathophysiological model focusing on the overuse of muscles during computer use supports these differences. Future studies are needed to improve our understanding of safe levels of computer use by measuring the duration of computer use in a more objective way, differentiating between total computer use, mouse use and keyboard use, attaining sufficient exposure contrast, and collecting data on disability caused by symptoms.

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KW - Hand

KW - Humans

KW - Musculoskeletal Diseases/etiology

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KW - Occupational Diseases/etiology

KW - Shoulder

KW - Time Factors

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JO - Occupational and Environmental Medicine

JF - Occupational and Environmental Medicine

SN - 1351-0711

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ER -