Deakin University

File(s) not publicly available

Changes in Desk-Based Workers' Sitting, Standing, and Stepping Time: Short- and Longer-Term Effects on Musculoskeletal Pain

Version 2 2024-05-31, 06:02
Version 1 2023-11-13, 22:06
journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-31, 06:02 authored by FQS Dzakpasu, N Owen, A Carver, CJ Brakenridge, EG Eakin, GN Healy, Tony LaMontagneTony LaMontagne, Marj MoodieMarj Moodie, P Coenen, L Straker, David DunstanDavid Dunstan
ABSTRACT Purpose Sitting at work can be associated with musculoskeletal pain, but the effect of reductions in sitting is not well understood. We examined relationships with musculoskeletal pain of changes in sitting, standing, stepping, and short and long bouts of these behaviors. Methods Analyses pooled data from 224 desk workers (68.4% women; mean ± SD age = 45.5 ± 9.4 yr; body mass index = 28.1 ± 6.1 kg⋅m−2) in intervention trial. Device-assessed (activPAL3) sitting, standing, and stepping time and multisite musculoskeletal pain (Nordic Questionnaire; 12 body areas) were assessed at baseline, 3 months, and 12 months. Compositional data analyses in linear mixed-effects regressions examined relationships within 16 waking hours of the behaviors and their short and long bouts, with changes from baseline in acute and chronic multisite musculoskeletal pain at 3 and 12 months. Analyses were adjusted for initial group randomization and relevant covariates. Results At 3 months, increased standing relative to changes in other compositions was significantly associated with increased multisite musculoskeletal pain (acute: β = 1.54, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.10 to 2.98; chronic: β = 1.49, 95% CI = 0.12 to 2.83). By contrast, increased stepping relative to changes in other compositions was significantly associated with reduced multisite musculoskeletal pain (acute: β = −1.49, 95% CI = −2.97 to −0.02; chronic: β = −1.87, 95% CI = −3.75 to −0.01). Neither sitting reduction relative to changes in other compositions nor changes in short bouts relative to long bouts of the behaviors were significantly associated with multisite musculoskeletal pain changes. At 12 months, there were no significant associations for any of the compositional changes. Conclusions In the short term, while increasing standing with reduced sitting time can be unfavorable, concurrently increasing stepping could potentially reduce musculoskeletal pain. In the longer term, musculoskeletal pain may not be increased by moderate reductions in sitting time through spending more time standing or stepping.



Medicine and science in sports and exercise






United States







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal




Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)