Sit-stand workstations and impact on low back discomfort: a systematic review and meta-analysis

<p><i>Background</i>: Sit-stand workstations are proposed solutions to reduce sedentary time at work. Numerous companies are using them to mitigate health concerns such as musculoskeletal discomfort. <i>Objective</i>: To review the literature on sit-stand workstations and low back discomfort. <i>Method</i>: We conducted a meta-analysis on literature published before 17 November 2016 that addressed the relationship between sit-stand workstations and musculoskeletal discomfort, focusing on the low back. <i>Results</i>: Twelve articles were identified and eight that presented results in means (SD) were included. Among a pain-free population, the standardised mean difference was −0.230 for low back discomfort with use of sit-stand workstations. When applying the SMD to studies using the 10-point pain scale, the effect estimates ranged between −0.30 and −0.51. <i>Conclusion</i>: sit-stand workstations may reduce low back pain among workers. Further research is needed to help quantify dosage parameters and other health outcomes.</p> <p><b>Practitioner Summary:</b> In a sedentary population, changing posture may reduce the chance of developing low back pain. The literature lacks studies on specific populations such as those who have pre-existing low back pain and also does not adequately address the dosage of sit-stand time required to help reduce pain.</p>