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Ortop Traumatol Rehabil. 2016 May 5;18(3):279-288. doi: 10.5604/15093492.1212997.

The Concept of "Chair Massage" in the Workplace as Prevention of Musculoskeletal Overload and Pain.

Author information

Faculty of Rehabilitation, Josef Pilsudski University of Physical Education, Warsaw, Poland.
Work-Site Massage School, Warsaw, Poland.
Institute of Sport, Department of Endocrinology, Warsaw, Poland.
College of Physiotherapy, Wrocław, Poland.



Accumulation of musculoskeletal overload experienced daily over a long period, for months or even years may lead to serious health problems. Simple, quick and easy-to-administer prophylactic and therapeutic interventions not involving complicated medical procedures can bring tangible benefits for sufferers. The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy and effects of a massage programme performed during breaks at work among persons exposed to long-term overload of the spinal column and areas around the spine.


We studied 50 office workers (20 women and 30 men, mean age 34.04 years). The subjects were randomly divided into an experimental group (massage, 25 people) and a control group (25 people). The study was completed in four weeks, during which 8 massage sessions took place (twice a week for 15 minutes). Subjective assessment tools were used, namely the IPAQ-short version for evaluation of physical activity, Cornell Musculoskeletal Discomfort Questionnaire (CMDQ) for assessment of musculoskeletal pain and a survey to assess the participants' satisfaction with the massage programme. An objective assessment tool was an algometric evaluation of the pain threshold (kg/cm2) in selected muscle trigger points. Statistical significance of differences was set at p <0.05.


The level of physical activity was comparable between the groups, with 42% of the experimental group and 40% in the control group declaring a high level of physical activity. According to the CMDQ, the biggest differences after massage were noted with regard to the reduction of pain in the lower and upper spine and the right arm (p <0.001), while slightly smaller improvements were noted in the right shoulder and left forearm (p <0.05). In other parts of the body and in the control group, the changes were not statistically significant. The pain threshold assessed by algometry increased at all points examined in the experimental group, with pain sensitivity decreasing the most in the trapezius and supraspinous muscles on the left side of the spine (p <0.001). In the control group, the changes were not significant.


1. The proposed programme of chair massage in the workplace proved to be effective in relieving musculoskeletal overload and discomfort of the spine and upper limbs. 2. The advantages of this method include its accessibility, cost-effectiveness, ease of administration in different places and short treatment time. It seems advisable to popularise it and increase its use in practice in the prevention of physical and mental work-related overload.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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