BACKGROUND: Musculoskeletal (MSK) pain is the primary contributor to disability worldwide. There is a growing consensus that MSK pain is a recurrent multifactorial condition underpinned by health and lifestyle factors. Studies suggest that education on work-related pain and individualised advice could be essential and effective for managing persistent MSK pain.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this scoping review was to map the existing educational resources for work-related MSK (WRMSK) pain, and the effects of implementing educational strategies in the workplace on managing WRMSK pain.
METHODS: This scoping review assessed original studies that implemented and assessed education as a strategy to manage WMSK pain. Literature search strategies were developed using thesaurus headings (ie, MeSH and CINAHL headings) and free-text search including words related to MSK in an occupational setting. The search was carried out in PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library and Web of Science in the period 12-14 February 2019.
RESULTS: A total of 19 peer-reviewed articles were included and the study design, aim and outcomes were summarised. Of the 19 peer-reviewed articles, 10 randomised controlled trial (RCT) studies assessed the influence of education on work-related MSK pain. Many studies provided a limited description of the education material and assessed/used different methods of delivery. A majority of studies concluded education positively influences work-related MSK pain. Further, some studies reported additive effects of physical activity or ergonomic adjustments.
CONCLUSIONS: There is a gap in knowledge regarding the best content and delivery of education of material in the workplace. Although beneficial outcomes were reported, more RCT studies are required to determine the effects of education material as compared with other interventions, such as exercise or behavioural therapy.