A new study has found that specific strength training exercises lead to
significant prolonged relief of neck muscle pain, while general fitness training
results in only a small amount of pain


Women are more
likely than men to suffer from persistent neck pain, particularly those who
engage in repetitive tasks such as working at a computer

The team, led by
Gisela Sjøgaard and Lars L. Andersen of the National Research Centre for
the Working Environment in Copenhagen, Denmark, therefore conducted the study on

They conducted a
randomised controlled trial for which they recruited 94 women from seven

The work tasks
performed by the women consisted of assembly line work and office work, with 79
per cent reported using a keyboard for more than 75 per cent of their working

The study participants
first filled out 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

They 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 counselling but no physical training. Both exercise groups
worked out for 20 minutes three times a week for 10

The researchers found
that while the GFT group showed a small decrease in neck muscle pain only
immediately after exercise, the SST group showed a marked decrease in pain over
a prolonged training period and with a lasting effect after the training

"Thus specific strength
training locally of the neck and shoulder muscles is the most beneficial
treatment in women with chronic neck muscle pain," the authors

It was also found that
the reduction in pain occurred gradually in the SST group, with trapezius muscle
pain gradually decreasing as muscle strength

The researchers said
that the marked reduction in pain in the SST group is of major clinical

"Based on the
present results, supervised high-intensity dynamic strength training of the
painful muscle 3 times a week for 20 minutes should be recommended in the
treatment of trapezius myalgia," they said.

Via Times of India