Sweating through Neck and Shoulder Pain: Exercise Scores Again!Muscle pain from work activities is often treated with exercise and stress management. How well do these programs work? And how long do the benefits last?
A group of physical therapists in Sweden studied 126 working women with neck and shoulder pain. The women were divided into four groups. Three groups were given exercises three times a week for 10 weeks. Each group did a different set of exercises. The fourth group took classes on stress control and didn't exercise. The therapists followed up with each group several times over the next three years.
Right after the program, exercises to improve muscle strength had the best results. Women who did these exercises had less pain than women in other groups. Over time, however, there weren't any differences between the groups in terms of pain relief, sick days, and work status. In general, women who exercised regularly seemed to be in better health.
People who have neck and shoulder pain for more than six months often improve with exercise. The type of exercise doesn't seem to matter. Exercise can reduce pain. Exercise also brings a sense of well-being that helps people cope with lasting neck and shoulder pain.
Kerstin Waling, MSc, PT, et al. Effects of Training on Female Trapezius Myalgia. In Spine. April 15, 2002. Vol. 27. No. 8. Pp. 789-796.
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