Background Several research studies have during controlled conditions shown that physical training at work has a beneficial effect on work related musculoskeletal pain. The question is, whether the same effect can be obtained, when introducing physical training in a normal work setting.
Aim To evaluate the effects of introducing elastic band exercise on a hospital laundry on upper extremity pain, sickness absence and job satisfaction among the laundry workers.
Methods and material Elastic band exercise was introduced in a hospital laundry situated in 3 locations. A total of 151 laundry workers were included in an open cohort. Elastic band exercises for the upper extremities were performed once a day on working days and lasted 10 minutes per session. The workers completed a web base questionnaire at baseline before the training was introduced and at 1 year follow up. Questions concerned pain intensity (0–10 VAS scale) in the upper extremities during the last week, sickness absence due to pain in the upper extremities, and their training adherence.
Results Questionnaire response rates at baseline and 1 year follow up were 94% and 89%, respectively. 21 workers left and 24 entered the cohort between baseline and 1 year follow-up. 114 participants completed the questionnaire both at baseline and at 1 year follow up. In average the participants performed the exercises 2.5 times per week. Pain intensity in the shoulders was reduced 1.05 point on the VAS scale (P < 0.05). There was no change in sickness absence.
Conclusions Upper extremity elastic band exercises at work,10 minutes per day at working days, reduces pain intensity in the upper extremities. There was no change in sickness absence.
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