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A randomised controlled trial evaluating an alternative mouse and forearm support on upper body discomfort and musculoskeletal disorders among engineers.

Conlon CF Krause N; Rempel DM
Occup Environ Med 2007 May; 65(5):311-318
Objectives: The aim of this intervention study was to determine the effects of an alternative mouse and/or a forearm support board on the change in upper body discomfort scores and the development of incident musculoskeletal disorders. Methods: This randomised controlled intervention trial followed 206 engineers for one year. Participants were randomised to receive (1) a conventional mouse only, (2) an alternative mouse only, (3) a forearm support board, or (4) an alternative mouse plus forearm support board. Outcome measures included weekly upper body discomfort scores and incident musculoskeletal disorders. Results: During the study, 42 participants were diagnosed with an incident musculoskeletal disorder. The group that received the forearm support board experienced a reduction in their right upper extremity discomfort (beta-coefficient -0.35, 95% CI -0.67 to -0.03) in comparison to those who did not receive a forearm board. The group that received the alternative mouse had a protective, but non-significant (p = 0.20), effect on incident cases of right upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders (HR 0.57, 95% CI 0.24 to 1.34) and a non-significant reduction in neck/shoulder discomfort (beta-coefficient -0.23, 95% CI -0.056 to 0.10) in comparison to those who received a conventional mouse. Conclusions: In engineers who use a computer for more than 20 h per week, a forearm support board may reduce right upper extremity discomfort attributed to computer use.
Biological-effects; Biological-function; Biomechanical-engineering; Biomechanical-modeling; Biomechanics; Cell-biology; Cellular-reactions; Computer-equipment; Computers; Engineering; Engineering-controls; Ergonomics; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Laboratory-testing; Mathematical-models; Mechanics; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Nervous-system-disorders; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Physiological-effects; Physiological-measurements; Physiological-response; Poison-control; Quantitative-analysis; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Statistical-analysis; Tissue-disorders; Work-environment; Work-operations; Work-performance; Workplace-studies; Work-practices
David M. Rempel, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 1301 South 46th Street, Building 163, Richmond, CA 94804
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-T42-OH-008429; Grant-Number-T42-OH-008412
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Performing Organization
University of California, Berkeley
Page last reviewed: January 29, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division