Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Research Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Jyothi Gupta



Musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 33% of all workplace injuries and illnesses in 2011; sprains, strains and tears accounted for 38% of injuries. Typically, injuries resulted from repetitive motion and required a median of 23 days away from work. Currently, there are no practice guidelines for the prevention of work-related shoulder and neck injuries. Due to the social and economic costs of workplace musculoskeletal injuries, there is an urgent need to identify the most effective preventative interventions.


To evaluate the current evidence for workplace interventions for the prevention of work-related shoulder and neck injuries.


A systematic search of the following databases was performed using a comprehensive set of categorized search terms: CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, and PsychINFO. The search was limited to English articles published after the year 2000, yielding 17 systematic reviews and 21 randomized controlled trials. A team of 3 researchers evaluated each systematic review and 2 researchers independently reviewed each randomized controlled trial using the PEDro scale.


13 randomized controlled trials received a score of at least 6/9 on the PEDro scale and were included in this review. 11 articles investigating prevention of neck pain and injury yielded mixed evidence for ergonomic intervention, strength training, and all-around exercise. 2 separate studies showed positive evidence for microbreaks and for an integrated health program. 8 studies investigating prevention of shoulder pain and injury showed strong evidence for strength training and all-around exercise and mixed evidence for ergonomic intervention. 1 study showed positive effects of microbreaks.


Overall, there is a lack of quality evidence for the prevention of work-related shoulder and neck injuries. Current evidence shows a strong effect of strength training and exercise for preventing shoulder injuries. Ergonomic interventions, including forearm support, workplace modifications, and microbreaks have demonstrated mixed results. Strength training and all-around exercise should be utilized for the prevention of work-related shoulder injuries; however, more quality research needs to be performed to identify more effective interventions in this area.