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Effect of physical training on function of chronically painful muscles: a randomized controlled trial

PainSci » bibliography » Andersen et al 2008
Tags: neck, strength, shoulder, muscle, exercise, muscle pain, head/neck, spine, self-treatment, treatment, pain problems

One article on PainSci cites Andersen 2008: Strength Training for Pain & Injury Rehab

PainSci commentary on Andersen 2008: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

This simple test of strength training as therapy for shoulder pain had positive results in 42 women with shoulder pain, researchers found that “specific strength training relieved pain and increases maximal activity.” Indeed, their pain was reduced 42–49%, and this result was less than 5% likely to be due to random chance.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

Pain and tenderness of the upper trapezius muscle is frequent in several occupational groups. The objective of this study is to investigate the effect of three contrasting interventions on muscle function and pain in women with trapezius myalgia.

A group of employed women (n = 42) with a clinical diagnosis of trapezius myalgia participated in a 10-wk randomized controlled intervention: specific strength training of the neck/shoulder muscles, general fitness training performed as leg bicycling, or a reference intervention without physical activity. Torque and electromyography (EMG) were recorded during maximal shoulder abductions in an isokinetic dynamometer at -60, 60, 0, and 180 degrees /s. Furthermore, a submaximal reference contraction with only the load of the arms was performed.

Significant changes were observed only in the specific strength training group. Pain decreased by 42–49% (P < 0.01-0.05). Whereas the EMG activity of the unaffected deltoid remained unchanged during the maximal contractions, an increase in EMG amplitude (42-86%; P < 0.001-0.05) and median power frequency (19%; P < 0.001) were observed for the painful trapezius muscle. Correspondingly, torque increased by 18-53% (P < 0.001-0.05). EMG during the reference contraction decreased significantly for both the trapezius and deltoid muscles (P < 0.01).

In conclusion, specific strength training relieves pain and increases maximal activity specifically of the painful trapezius muscle, leading to increased shoulder abduction strength in women with trapezius myalgia. Furthermore, decreased relative workload may indirectly augment pain reduction.

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