2006; Mortimer et al. 2006), causing a major part of work disability and long-term sick leave in Sweden (Borg et al. 2001). Musculoskeletal pain and long-term sick leave is higher among women than among men workers (Dellve C59 wnt molecular weight et al. 2006), and among human service organization workers (HSOs)
compared with other occupational groups. The high prevalence of long-lasting sick leave due to neck pain among female workers stresses the need for intervention methods that are easily applied and can increase work ability and return to work. The rehabilitation activity among HSO-workers has been low in Sweden. Among the largest group of HSOs, nursing aides and BIBF 1120 mw assistants, few (2%) received occupational rehabilitation and few (3–5%) returned to work from 2 weeks of sick leave within 30 days (Dellve et al. 2006). A number of studies
have reported difficulties in rehabilitation and return to work from long-term sick leave in general and due to neck pain in particular (Savikko et VX-680 molecular weight al. 2001; Nielsen et al. 2006; Ekbladh 2008). This point to the need for methods to better support return to work and regained work ability among female workers with musculoskeletal disorder, especially with neck pain. However, work ability is a broad concept comprising the physical, psychological, and social capability of a worker to perform and interact within their work, the individual’s specific work demands, health conditions, and mental triclocarban resources (Ilmarinen and Rantanen 1999; Ludvigsson and Alexandersson 2006). Thus, several dimensions of work ability need to be used to capture the effect of intervention on work
ability, e.g. general perception of work ability, muscular strength, vitality, and other dimensions of health (i.e., both self-rated and laboratory assessed). This randomized control study investigates whether 1 month’s intervention with myofeedback through an easy-to-wear electromyography (EMG) device, or a short intensive muscular strength training program both coached by an ergonomist at the participants’ homes, can increase work ability and decrease pain among female workers on long-term sick leave (exceeding 60 days). The theoretical framework is that muscle tension in the neck is related to insufficient rest, which is a risk factor for chronic pain (Veiersted and Westgaard 1993) and that an intervention that changes the muscle activation pattern will increase health by reducing pain and thereby increasing the work ability. One of the theories for the etiology of neck pain, which may have an association with the muscle activation pattern, is an overload of the low threshold motor units, i.e., the type 1 muscle fibers.