Office staff who took part in an eight-month workplace initiative reported that headaches and neck and shoulder pain fell by more than 40 per cent and their use of painkillers halved.
Italian researchers compared 169 staff in Turin’s registry and tax offices with 175 colleagues who hadn’t taken part in the educational and physical programme. Using daily diaries completed by both groups, they compared the baseline results for months one and two of the study with months seven and eight to see if there had been any changes. The study group started following the programme in month three.
The findings: At the start of the study, staff in both groups reported an average of six headache days a month and seven and a half days when they were affected by neck and shoulder pain. They needed to take analgesic drugs two days a month. By the end of the trial, staff in the study group reported that they suffered from 41 per cent fewer headaches, with staff in the control group reporting a negligible rise of 0.02 per cent. The study group staff also reported 43 per cent less neck and shoulder pain, compared with staff in the control group who reported a five per cent reduction.
The researchers were also keen to see whether the workplace initiative also reduced the ‘global burden’ of the employee’s headaches and neck and shoulder pain, which is calculated by multiplying intensity by frequency. They found that employees in the study group reported a 41 per cent reduction in headache burden, compared with a two per cent fall for the control group. The burden of neck and shoulder pain was 54 per cent lower in the study group by the end of the study, with the control group recording a reduction of four per cent.
The study and control groups were based in separate offices to avoid cross contamination of the results. 90 per cent of the 384 employees who agreed to take part completed the study. Most were female (80 per cent), with an average age of 46. “Our study clearly shows that workplace interventions can reduce headaches and neck and shoulder pain” stress the authors.
MEDICA.de; Source: Wiley Blackwell