Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 36, Issue 10, pp 2325–2333 | Cite as

Group-based exercise at workplace: short-term effects of neck and shoulder resistance training in video display unit workers with work-related chronic neck pain—a pilot randomized trial

  • Giuseppa M. CaputoEmail author
  • Mauro Di Bari
  • José Naranjo Orellana
Original Article


Effectiveness of exercise therapy in video display unit (VDU) workers with work-related chronic neck pain (W-RCNP) is unclear. The aim of the study was to assess the efficacy of group-based neck-shoulder resistance exercises on symptoms and muscular function in VDU workers with W-RCNP. Thirty-five employees with CNP were randomly assigned to neck-shoulder resistance exercise (NSRE) group or to conventional stretching and postural exercise (SPE) group. Participants trained 45 min, twice a week for 7 weeks. Primary outcomes were pain intensity (0–10 numeric rating scale, NRS) and pain-related disability (Vernon Neck Disability Index, NDI). Secondary outcomes were cervical active range of motion (AROM), endurance of neck flexors, strength of shoulder abductors, and health-related quality of life (SF-36). Post-treatment, pain and disability decreased 2.5 and 5 points in NSRE (p = 0.001) and 5 and 8 points in SPE (p = 0.002), with no significant differences between groups. AROM improved significantly in both groups; between-group differences were not significant. Neck flexors endurance and shoulder abductors strength improved by 59.6 and 34.2% (p = 0.001) in the NSRE group and by 27.6% (p = 0.009) and 2.3% (p = 0.002) in the SPE group; between-group differences were significant (p = 0.016 and p < 0.001, respectively). SF-36 score remained unchanged. NSRE and SPE are feasible and equally effective in reducing pain and pain-related disability as group exercises in W-RCNP. NSRE may provide some advantage in improving strength and endurance in neck muscles. Further, larger studies should confirm these findings and assess whether a better muscle function confers long-term clinical advantages.


Exercise adherence Exercise therapy Neck pain Occupational health User-computer interface 



The authors thank Dr. Alfredo Mira for the assistance in the recruitment of participants and Dr. Manuel Bejarano-Bache and Dr. Eleonora Pagni for the assistance in the assessment of participants.

Compliance with ethical standards

The Research Ethics Committee of the Pablo de Olavide University approved the study (reference: 1/2012) that was performed in accordance with the ethical standards of the Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All participants provided written informed consent prior to commencing the study.




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Copyright information

© International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giuseppa M. Caputo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mauro Di Bari
    • 3
  • José Naranjo Orellana
    • 4
  1. 1.Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit, Department of Allied Health ProfessionalsAzienda Ospedaliero Universitaria CareggiFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Cellular BiologyPablo de Olavide UniversitySevilleSpain
  3. 3.Geriatric Cardiology and Medicine Unit, Department of Experimental and Clinical MedicineUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  4. 4.Department of Sports and StatisticsPablo de Olavide UniversitySevilleSpain

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