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Strength training of neck muscles relieves chronic pain
Date:1/4/2008

Neck pain has been steadily increasing over the past two decades and is now second to back pain, the most common musculoskeletal disorder. Women are more likely than men to suffer from persistent neck pain, in particular those who engage in repetitive tasks such as working at a computer keyboard. Previous studies have shown conflicting results as to whether or not exercise can effectively treat neck pain, but there has not been enough high-quality research in this area to draw firm conclusions. A new study on women with neck pain published in the January issue of Arthritis Care & Research (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritiscare) found that specific strength training exercises led to significant prolonged relief of neck muscle pain, while general fitness training resulted in only a small amount of pain reduction.

Led by Gisela Sjgaard and Lars L. Andersen of the National Research Centre for the Working Environment in Copenhagen, Denmark, researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial for which they recruited 94 women from seven workplaces in Copenhagen between September 2005 and March 2006. The work tasks performed by the women consisted of assembly line work and office work, with 79 percent of the participants using a keyboard for more than three-quarters of their working time. Participants first answered a questionnaire about their pain and then underwent a clinical exam to confirm a diagnosis of trapezius myalgia (muscle pain in the trapezius muscle, which extends along the back of the neck). Participants were assigned to three intervention groups: those who did supervised specific strength training (SST) exercises for the neck and shoulder muscles, those who did high-intensity general fitness training (GFT) on a bicycle ergometer, and a control group that received health counseling but no physical training. Both exercise groups worked out for 20 minutes three
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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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