Office staff who took part in an eight-month workplace initiative reported that headaches and neck and shoulder pain fell by more than 40% and their use of painkillers halved, according to research published in the May issue of Cephalalgia.
Researchers compared 169 office staff who took part in the program with 175 colleagues who did not participate.
“Staff in the study group were asked to carry out a series of relaxation and posture exercises every two to three hours and provided with red labels to place around their work area to remind them to avoid excessive contraction of their head and shoulder muscles” explains lead author Professor Franco Mongini from the Headache and Facial Pain Unit at the University of Turin, Italy.
“The exercises also included two daily periods of ten to 15 minutes when staff relaxed quietly at home in a comfortable armchair with warming pads placed on their cheeks and shoulders.” “Our study clearly shows that workplace interventions can reduce headaches and neck and shoulder pain. “We also believe that employers would support this low-cost initiative as it would improve productivity in the workplace.”
Cephalalgia – May 2008;28:541-52. www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/cha/28/5