Evaluation of a Workplace Exercise Program for Control of Shoulder Disorders in Overhead Assembly Work

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Objective:The aim of this study was to assess effects of exercise on shoulder musculoskeletal symptoms among employees with overhead assembly work exposures.Methods:A voluntary workplace shoulder exercise program was offered to employees in two automotive assembly departments, while two similar departments served as controls. N = 76 total workers participated. Shoulder Rating Questionnaire (SRQ) and Discomfort of the Arm Shoulder and Hand (DASH) symptoms were queried monthly for 7 baseline months, followed by 6 months that included exercise.Results:SRQ scores were higher for exercisers than among controls in the 6 exercising months, but not in the baseline months. Although the group x month interaction was significant (P < 0.05), the temporal trend was inconsistent.Conclusions:Exercise may have temporarily lessened decline in SRQ. It is not clear whether shorter term differences were clinically meaningful or predictive of longer term disability prevention.

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