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Myofeedback training and intensive muscular strength training to decrease pain and improve work ability among female workers on long-term sick leave with neck pain: a randomized controlled trial

Journal article
Authors Lotta Dellve
Linda Åhlström
Andreas Jonsson
Leif Sandsjö
M. Forsman
Agneta Lindegård Andersson
Christina Ahlstrand
Roland Kadefors
Mats Hagberg
Published in International archives of occupational and environmental health
Volume 84
Issue 3
Pages 335-46
ISSN 1432-1246
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Department of Work Science
Pages 335-46
Language en
Keywords Adult, Biofeedback, Psychology, Electromyography, Female, Hand Strength/physiology, Health Status, Humans, Middle Aged, Muscle, Skeletal/physiology, Neck Pain/physiopathology/*rehabilitation, Occupational Diseases/physiopathology/*rehabilitation, Occupational Therapy/*methods, *Relaxation Therapy, Resistance Training/*methods, *Sick Leave, Treatment Outcome
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


Abstract The theoretical framework is that muscle tension in the neck is related to insufficient muscular rest and is a risk factor for chronic pain and reduced work ability. Promoting muscle strength and muscle rest may increase work ability and reduce neck pain. Objectives To test whether myofeedback training or intensive strength training leads to decreased pain and increased work ability in women on long-term sick leave. Methods This is a randomized controlled trial of two 1-month interventions with myofeedback or muscular strength training in the home environment. Female human service organization workers (n = 60) on long-term (>60 days) sick leave and with chronic neck pain were followed with self-reported and laboratory-observed data of health, pain, muscular activation, and work ability, at baseline, immediately after the intervention and 3 months after baseline. Results For both intervention groups, pain was lowered over time compared with the control group. Decreased pain and muscular activity was associated with increased self-rated work ability and with laboratory-observed work ability at 3-month follow-up. Decreased pain was also associated with increased self-rated work ability at 1-month follow-up. Muscular strength training was associated with increased self-rated work ability and mental health. Myofeedback was associated with increased observed work ability and self- rated vitality. Conclusions The two interventions showed positive results, suggesting that they could be developed for use in health care practice to address pain and work ability. The intensive muscular strength training program, which is both easy to conduct at home and easy to coach, was associated with increased work ability.

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