Neurocognitive performance and physical function do not change with physical-cognitive-mindfulness training in female laboratory technicians with chronic musculoskeletal pain: Randomized controlled trial

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Cognitive and physical performance can be negatively affected by chronic pain. This study evaluates the effect of combined physical-, cognitive-, and mindfulness training (PCMT) on cognitive and physical performance.


From a large pharmaceutical company in Denmark we randomly allocated 112 female laboratory technicians with chronic upper limb pain to group-based PCMT at the worksite or a reference group for 10 weeks. Neurocognitive performance was measured by the computerized central nervous system vital signs neurocognitive assessment battery. Physical function was assessed in terms of shoulder external rotation strength and rate of force development in a custom-made dynamometer setup.


No between-group differences (least square means [95% confidence interval]) from baseline to follow-up could be detected in any of the neurocognitive domains as measured by the central nervous system vital signs neurocognitive assessment battery, for example, Psychomotoer Speed 1.9 (−1.0 to 4.7), Reaction Time −4.0 (−19.5 to 11.6), Complex Attention −0.3 (−1.9 to 1.4), and Executive Function −0.2 (−3.5 to 3.0). Similarly, we found no change in maximal voluntary isometric strength −0.63 (−4.8 to 3.6), or rate of force development 14.8 (−12.6 to 42.2) of the shoulder external rotators. Finally, test–retest reliability of maximal voluntary contraction and rate of force development shoulder external rotation showed high reliability at 0 to 30 ms, 0 to 50 ms, 0 to 100 ms, and 0 to 200 ms with ICCs at 0.95, 0.92, 0.93, 0.92, and 0.91, respectively.


Ten weeks of PCMT did not improve neurocognitive or physical performance.

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