Temporal patterns of sitting at work are associated with neck–shoulder pain in blue-collar workers

A cross-sectional analysis of accelerometer data in the DPHACTO study
BACKGROUND: Our aim was to examine the extent to which temporal patterns of sitting during occupational work and during leisure-time, assessed using accelerometry, are associated with intense neck-shoulder pain (NSP) in blue-collar workers. METHODS: The population consisted of 659 Danish blue-collar workers. Accelerometers were attached to the thigh, hip, trunk and upper dominant arm to measure sitting time and physical activity across four consecutive days. Temporal sitting patterns were expressed separately for work and leisure by the proportion of total time spent sitting in brief bursts (0-5 min), moderate (>5-20 min) and prolonged (>20 min) periods. The peak NSP intensity during the previous 3 months was assessed using a numerical rating scale (range 0-10) and dichotomized into a lower (4) NSP score. Logistic regression analyses with multiple adjustments for individual and occupational factors were performed to determine the association between brief, moderate and prolonged sitting periods, and NSP intensity. RESULTS: Time in brief bursts of occupational sitting was negatively associated with NSP intensity (adjusted OR 0.68, 95 % CI 0.48-0.98), while time in moderate periods of occupational sitting showed a positive association with NSP (adjusted OR 1.32, 95 % CI 1.04-1.69). Time in prolonged periods of occupational sitting was not associated with NSP (adjusted OR 0.78, 95 % CI 0.78-1.09). We found no significant association between brief, moderate or prolonged sitting periods during leisure, and NSP. CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that the association between occupational sitting time and intense NSP among blue-collar workers is sensitive to the temporal pattern of sitting.

Source: Hallman DM, Mathiassen SE, Heiden M, et al. International Archieves of Occupational and Environmental Health, 2016.

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