The exercises also improve the muscle’s ability to respond quickly and forcefully among women suffering trapezius myalgia, a tenderness and tightness in the upper trapezius muscle. The results are the latest findings from an ongoing Danish study aimed at reducing repetitive strain injury caused by office work.
The team’s finding confirms that five specific strength exercises can substantially reduce perceived pain. By finding out more about how the muscle function has been impaired and how it improves with exercise, the team has developed a way to assess the muscle in the rehabilitation setting. In particular, the Danish team found that the women who had diminished ability to activate the muscle quickly and forcefully could benefit from the strength training.
Forty-two women who worked in offices participated in the ten-week study. They all had reported chronic or frequent pain in the neck area, and tightness and tenderness of the upper trapezius muscle. The researchers randomly divided the women into three groups:
The first group of 18 women did five exercises with dumbbells - one-arm row, shoulder abduction, shoulder elevation, reverse fly and upright row. These exercises strengthen the shoulder and the neck muscles. The women in this group did three sets of three of these exercises three times per week. The amount of weight lifted depended upon each woman’s strength level and was progressively increased.
The second group of 16 women cycled upright on a stationary exercise bicycle. Other studies have shown that general fitness training can help alleviate a variety of ailments. The women in this group bicycled three sessions per week for 20 minutes per session. The control group of eight women received individual and group counselling on ergonomics, diet, health, relaxation and stress management for a total of one hour per week. They did not receive any physical training.
In this study, bicycling did not significantly affect rapid force capacity. The significant changes on this variable occurred only in the strength-training group. Strength training reduced pain levels by more than 50 per cent. Also, it improved rapid force capacity and increased number of type II muscle fibres, the fibres important in generating power.
MEDICA.de; Source: American Physiological Society (APS)