Project 5

Analysis of spinal posture, shape and patterns of physical activity and sedentary behaviour of workers under different workplace settings

Low back pain is frequently associated with work-related risk factors, including occupational, sedentary behaviour, frequent bending, heavy lifting, awkward postures and whole-body vibrations. Therefore, many interventions, targeting individual health behaviour  as well as situational prevention programs were introduced to prevent low back pain, unfortunately often with only low success rates.

To evaluate the efficacy of these low back pain prevention measures, sophisticated diagnostic tools that objectively determine spinal posture and motion as well as tools to subjectively monitor individual, psychosocial and environmental correlates and consequences of engagement in health behaviour of employees at work are an essential requirement. Schmidt’s group developed and validated tools enable, in long-term analyses of up to 24 hours, the determination of the shape and mobility of the thoracolumbar spinal region under virtually unrestricted conditions.

Fleig’s group is specialized in applied health psychology, and in particular in developing and testing theory-based, interdisciplinary behaviour change interventions aimed to minimize sedentary time, improve physical activity, and promote mobility in healthy employees, older adults and individuals with musculoskeletal problems. Both approaches will be used to create individual motion and posture as well as psychosocial and behavioural profiles of workers in different workplaces, to identify work environmental risks and to objectively evaluate the efficacy of preventative measures. Overall, results of this project will help to improve assessments of risk exposure at work, in particular concerning health-compromising lower limits (e.g., prolonged sedentary time).

Institution: Charite-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Julius Wolff Institute

Partner: MSB Medical School Berlin, Fakultät Naturwissenschaften, Department Psychologie, Gesundheitspsychologie