From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Study To Look at the Healing Ability of Ergonomics

Temple University recently received a $1.7 million grant to determine whether or not an ergonomics intervention can keep a work-related injury from turning into a chronic disability.

Funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the grant will let scientists Ann Barr Ph.D., Mary Barbe Ph.D., Brian Clark Ph.D., and Fayez Safadi Ph.D., look at the effects of ergonomics interventions as a means of secondary prevention.

While Barr, the principal investigator in the study, agrees that preventing damage via a primary intervention is ideal, oftentimes patients don’t report work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) until they have begun to experience symptoms and have some degree of damage.

“Because there are still so many questions about the underlying conditions, there’s uncertainty about the best type of treatment,” said Barr in a Temple University press statement. “As a result, sufferers are often prescribed a package of treatments, including physical therapy, ergonomics and medication, and we’re not sure which treatment is actually working.”

The five-year study, which will also look at the effect anti-inflammatory drugs, including ibuprofen and aspirin, have on MSDs, seeks to isolate individual treatments to determine which, if any, can actually heal.

“We’re proposing a combination of NSAIDs, which are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin; and ergonomics, which involves adjustment of the workspace to ease pressure and force on the body. While such treatments are common, we’re not certain that they actually heal tissue. We need to tease out the effectiveness of each treatment alone. This will help us to refine treatment and save people from further pain and disability,” said Barr.