Volume 19 (2007) Issue 2 Pages 151-163
OBJECTIVE: To review the strength of research evidence on the effects of exercise and rest breaks on musculoskeletal discomfort during computer tasks and compare the evidence with clinical guidelines. SIGNIFICANCE: The review of research evidence and its comparison with current clinical guidelines provide clinicians with knowledge to make clinically sound decisions in the care and management of individuals with musculoskeletal discomfort during computer tasks. METHODS: Articles from Pubmed, Ovid and references of relevant articles were reviewed for research design and internal validity. Grades of evidence were assigned based on the aggregate strength of articles for each intervention. RESULTS: Fifteen articles (one on exercise, seven on rest breaks, five examining both) met the inclusion criteria. Exercise and rest breaks were each assigned a grade of C. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence supports the use of exercise and rest breaks in reducing musculoskeletal discomfort in computer tasks. The research evidence suggests no additional benefits of exercise over rest breaks alone. Research evidence concurs with the clinical guidelines recommended by OSHA and the Official Disability Guidelines.