Introduction: Although posture is a known contributor to musculoskeletal pain, existing efforts to improve posture and reduce pain have achieved mixed results. Emerging evidence suggests that biomechanical biofeedback has potential for retraining posture but its use has not been tested widely. Objectives: This project aims to evaluate the effectiveness of real-time, biomechanical biofeedback to retrain spinal posture and reduce musculoskeletal pain in computer users. Methods: 42 computer-users with pain were assessed, matched to pairs and randomly allocated to one of two, three-week equivalent intensity interventions. One group received a workplace-based postural education program. The other group received a real-time, biomechanically-based, postural biofeedback program utilizing the BackTone â biofeedback device. Pain, in-task postural angles and opinions about posture were measured using Visual Analogue Scales and lateral marker imaging. Participants were evaluated at baseline (T0), end of intervention (T1) and 12 weeks follow-up (T2). Results: The biofeedback group achieved improvements in upper-thoracic and cervical spine angles at T1 (P = 0.034, P = 0.018) and the improvements persisted at T2 (P = 0.041, P = 0.020). The education group achieved improvement in upper-thoracic angle at T1 (P = 0.008), but the improvement did not persist at T2. There was no improvement in education group cervical angles. Average biofeedback group pain improvement (63%, SD = 55.95%) was greater than average education group pain improvement (35.6%, SD = 38.6%) at T1 (P = 0.022) and at T2 (BF 78.1% SD = 57.6%; ED 40.3% SD = 50.5%) (P = 0.048). Conclusion: Use of real-time biomechanical biofeedback will enhance outcomes for treatment of computer-users with musculoskeletal pain.
26th Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA) National Conference and Exhibition: Changes, Challenges, Choices, Melbourne, Australia 1-3 July 2015
Australian Occupational Therapy Journal / Vol. 62, Supplement 1, pp.80