American Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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American Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2017, 5(2), 27-37
DOI: 10.12691/ajssm-5-2-3
Open AccessReview Article

Stretching Exercises to Prevent Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders - A Review Article

Qais Gasibat1, , Nordin Bin Simbak1 and Aniza Abd Aziz1

1Faculty of Medicine, Sultan Zainal Abidin University, Gong Badak Campus, 21300 Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Pub. Date: May 04, 2017

Cite this paper:
Qais Gasibat, Nordin Bin Simbak and Aniza Abd Aziz. Stretching Exercises to Prevent Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders - A Review Article. American Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2017; 5(2):27-37. doi: 10.12691/ajssm-5-2-3


Background: Lower back, neck and shoulder pain, which affects the lumbar spine, are the most commonly reported Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). Approximately 80 percent of the general population is affected by these disorders at a certain point during their lifetime, with some estimates being as high as 84 percent. The most commonly used approach for the treatment of MSDs is exercise therapy. Stretching provides several benefits for people at work, and may help improve morale and team cohesiveness. Another benefit of stretching is that participants may increase their range of motion compared to their counterparts who do not participate in stretching programs. Objective: The aim of this study is to synthesize the recent literature on workplace stretching exercise programs and their effects on reducing work-related MSDs in different occupational groups. Method: Specific keywords were identified and used in a systematic search to guide the discovery of relevant studies and data. Electronic databases including PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar, were searched for the following combination of keywords: workplace, stretching, exercises, injury, work, prevention, safety, occupation, and ergonomics. Studies that do not focus on the benefits of stretching exercise were excluded simply because the present study examines prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders through stretching exercises. Results: Whilst majority of the literature examined in this study may not completely explain that stretching at the office will prevent work-related musculoskeletal accidental injuries, some studies have shown that performing stretching exercises can lead to reducing discomfort/pain and raising range of motion (ROM). Conclusion: Majority of the literature reviewed in this study might not fully explain that stretching at work prevents work-related musculoskeletal injuries. Some studies have shown that performing stretching exercises can contribute to reducing discomfort/pain and increasing range of motion (ROM). Particularly, construction workers who participated in stretching exercise programs reported significant positive effects including reduction in pains/disability, increase in muscle flexibility and endurance. These exercises are recommended to be performed during breaks throughout, depending on the type of occupation. All the exercises suggested could be performed at the workstation, and only require a few seconds to perform.

stretching program musculoskeletal disorders workplace stretching

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