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, 2011

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.


Middle Aged



Hand Strength/physiology

Health Status

Treatment Outcome

Resistance Training/*methods


*Sick Leave

Occupational Diseases/physiopathology/*rehabilitation



Occupational Therapy/*methods

Neck Pain/physiopathology/*rehabilitation



*Relaxation Therapy


Lotta Dellve

University of Gothenburg

Linda Ahlstrom

University of Gothenburg

Andreas Jonsson

University of Gothenburg

Leif Sandsjö

University of Gothenburg

M. Forsman

Agneta Lindegård Andersson

Christina Ahlstrand

University of Gothenburg

Roland Kadefors

University of Gothenburg

Mats Hagberg

University of Gothenburg

International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health

0340-0131 (ISSN) 1432-1246 (eISSN)

Vol. 84 3 335-46

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