Injury type: Acute

Category: Allied Health Options

Rating: No research

What is it?

Work alteration relates to changes made to the working environment and/or arrangements, which may have an impact on symptoms and recovery after whiplash. Sometimes this may include work ergonomics, the science of arranging the working environment to fit the person in it. Using ergonomic principles may help to reduce stress and other disorders caused by overuse of muscles, bad posture and repeated tasks.

How does it work?

Applying ergonomic principles at work such as designing new tasks, modifying work spaces, controls, displays, tools, lighting and equipment to fit the worker’s capabilities and limitations may help to avoid new or aggravate existing injuries or disorders.

Is it effective?

There is currently no scientific evidence on the use of work alteration for whiplash. A systematic review1 focusing on work disability prevention interventions reported that ergonomic adjustment and workplace education, along with computer-prompted work breaks (with or without exercise during the break) had an immediate positive impact on workers recovering from recent neck and upper extremity complaints at the end of the eight-week intervention. It is important to note that the conclusion is on the basis of one randomised controlled trial. Therefore, care should be taken in interpretation and application.

Are there any disadvantages?

None known.

Where do you get it?

Work alteration using ergonomic principles can be provided in isolation or as part of other rehabilitation treatments. Ergonomists’ are specialists in this field and they can be found in your local Yellow Pages. Other health care practitioners such as Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists may also provide work ergonomic treatments as part of overall rehabilitation. Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists can be found in the Yellow Pages and online via their professional organisations.


Due to the absence of rigorous high quality scientific evidence, work alteration cannot be recommended for whiplash. More research is needed in this area.