Design: A prospective blinded randomized controlled trial.
Setting: A school in Leicestershire, UK.
Participants: Seventy-one school children aged 11–12 years divided into intervention (n = 37) and control (n = 34) groups.
Intervention: Both groups received posture training delivered by teachers at the school and were assessed on their knowledge of correct posture. A follow-up lesson was delivered 1 week later during which the intervention group also received automated posture warnings and tips on their personal computers.
Outcome measures: The prevalence and severity of musculoskeletal symptoms were measured at the start of the study and at the start and end of the follow-up lesson and any differences between the two groups found over the course of the 60 min follow-up lesson noted.
Results: By the end of the follow-up lesson, the mean visual analogue pain scale representation of the degree of discomfort due to the musculoskeletal problems fell significantly from 1.53 to 0.39 for the intervention group, while that for the control group only fell from 1.23 to 1.13 (non-significant). The overall incidence of musculoskeletal problems in the intervention group showed a greater trend towards reduction, falling significantly from 32.4% to 5.4% compared with the control group, which fell from 29.4% to 20.59% (non-significant).
Conclusions: Postural interventions that include on-screen reminders during the course of the lesson significantly reduce the reported severity of discomfort of musculoskeletal problems and are associated with a trend towards lower reported frequencies of musculoskeletal problems overall. This data may be relevant to those devising ergonomic correction programmes for school children.
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