Background: Neck and shoulder complaints are common among employees in sedentary occupations characterized by intensive computer use. Such musculoskeletal pain - which is often associated with restricted range of motion and loss of muscle strength - is one of the most common conditions treated by physical therapists. The exact mechanism of neck pain is rarely revealed by clinical examination and the treatment has varied from passive rest to active treatments. Active treatments have often been divided into either training of the painful area or the surrounding musculature avoiding direct training of the painful area. Our study investigates the effect of the latter approach. Methods/Design. A randomized controlled trial of 10 weeks duration is currently being conducted. Employed office workers with severe neck-shoulder pain are randomized to 3 × 20 min shoulder function training with training supervision or to a reference group receiving advice to stay physically active. Shoulder function training primarily focuses on the serratus anterior and lower trapezius muscle with only minimal activation the upper trapezius. An announcement was sent to the administrative section of the university including jobs characterized by intensive computer work. The first 100 positive replies entered the study. Among these inclusion criteria were pain intensity in the neck/shoulder of at least 3 on a 0-9 scale. Exclusion criteria were cardiovascular disease, trauma, hypertension, or serious chronic disease. Before and after the intervention period the participants replied to a questionnaire about musculoskeletal disorders and work disability, and underwent a standardized clinical examination of the neck and shoulder girdle. Further, on a weekly basis the participants log pain intensity of the neck and shoulder during the previous week. The primary outcome measure is pain in the neck and shoulders at week 10 based on the weekly pain registration and results from the clinical examination. Secondary outcomes are strength and work disability. © 2011 Andersen et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Andersen, C. H., Andersen, L. L., Mortensen, O. S., Zebis, M. K., & Sjøgaard, G. (2011). Protocol for Shoulder function training reducing musculoskeletal pain in shoulder and neck: A randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 12. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2474-12-14