WORKERS who compensate for hours spent in front of a computer by using ergonomic chairs, standing desks and good posture are still likely to suffer back, neck, wrist and shoulder injuries, reports Melissa Davey of the Sydney Morning Herald who cited  new research from the University of Sydney.

The survey of nearly 1000 workers across six government departments found about 85 per cent of people who spent more than eight hours a day working at a computer experienced neck pain. The study, published in WORK: a Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation,  also found three-quarters reported shoulder pain and 70 per cent reported lower back pain.

Long hours of computer work may also contribute to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, with people in senior or managerial positions the hardest hit because they worked at a computer most. So reported the study’s lead researcher, Karin Griffiths of the University of Sydney’s Health Sciences faculty.

Nicholas Gilson, a lecturer in physical activity and health at the University of Queensland, recently studied employees in an open-plan office who were given a choice of sitting or standing desks. After one week, their overall sedentary time had not decreased. Workers need environmental opportunities to frequently change posture from sitting to standing and moving in work tasks, he said.

Discouraging internal emails on the same floor, holding meetings while standing or walking, and placing phones on a standing bench were also good strategies for encouraging a move away from sedentariness.

”This is not only going to benefit musculoskeletal issues, but also risk factors associated with chronic disease and in all likelihood, productivity and job satisfaction,” Dr Gilson said.

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Information Source: Sydney Morning Herald report, Aug 29, 2012