Problems concerning health and well-being are among the top challenges presented in the workplace, in worldwide today. Since 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe and the European Commission have both recognized the importance of well-being and prevention at the workplace. Nevertheless, according to recent report by Buck Consultants (Winning Strategies in Global Workplace Health Promotion, 2012) for workplace health promotion and wellness programs to succeed globally, senior management must be convinced that these programs provide value to the business, such as boosting productivity or improving safety, in all regions of the world. Although such programs are rapidly growing worldwide, lack of employee trust and buy-in are among the greatest potential impediments to global success.
THEWS project (Therapeutic Exercise in the Workspace) is addressed to an increasing number of employees in the European Union who are experiencing musculoskeletal pain symptoms in the back, neck and extremities reporting common subjective health complaints. Those are occupational groups with monotonous and repetitive work tasks, (e.g. computer users) to whom neck pain is the most prevalent musculoskeletal complaint. While the etiology of musculoskeletal pain symptoms is multifactorial with several physical and psychosocial risk factors at work, there is general consensus about the beneficial effect of therapeutic exercise.
One of the major outcomes for the THEWS project is the implementation of an web platform with the objective of bridging the gap of exchange of information between teachers, students and professionals who deal daily with computers and feel regular pains in the neck area.
The platform will consist of a space with four types of users, (i) learners, (ii) trainers, (iii) administrators iv) office employees. Learners will be able to access learning materials that trainers provide, and will be able to develop their analysis and reflections. Trainers will be able to insert their learning materials, which will be text based or multi-media, and will specify the order in which a learner interacts with the materials. The administrator will be able to oversee the whole process, ensure quality of content & apply suitable user management and content management processes. Finally, office employees will use the multimedia application that will lead them to the appropriate therapeutic intervention according to their symptoms.
The Web-Platform will provide an IT application (multimedia application). Setting the specific points and characteristics of pain, any neck pain patient will have its own appropriate sequence of exercises with video presentation for accurate execution and self management.