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Muscle soreness can negatively interfere with the activities of daily living as well as sports performance. In the working environment, a common problem is muscle tenderness, soreness and pain, especially for workers frequently exposed to unilateral high repetitive movements tasks. The aim of the study is therefore to investigate the acute effect of massage applied using a simple device Thera‐band roller Massager on laboratory induced hamstring muscle soreness, and the potential cross over effect to the non‐massaged limb.
22 healthy untrained men (Mean age 34 +/− 7 years; mean height 181.7 +/− 6.9 cm; mean weight 80.6 +/− 6.4 kg; BMI: 24.5 +/− 1.3) with no prior history of knee, low back or neck injury or other adverse health issues were recruited. Participants visited the researchers on two separate occasions, separated by 48 hours, each time providing a soreness rating (modified visual analog scale 0‐10), and being tested for pressure pain threshold (PPT) and active range of motion (ROM) of the hamstring muscles. During the first visit, delayed onset muscular soreness of the hamstring muscles was induced by 10 x 10 repetitions of the stiff‐legged dead‐lift. On the second visit participants received either 1) 10 minutes of roller massage on one leg, while the contralateral leg served as a cross over control, or 2) Resting for 10 minutes with no massage at all. Measurement of soreness, PPT and ROM were taken immediately before and at 0, 10, 30 and 60 min. after treatment.
There was a significant group by time interaction for soreness (p < 0.0001) and PPT (p = 0.0007), with the massage group experiencing reduced soreness and increasing PPT compared with the control group. There was no group by time interaction for ROM (p = 0.18). At 10 min. post massage there was a significant reduction in soreness of the non‐massaged limb in the cross over control group compared to controls but this effect was lost 30 minutes post massage.
Massage with a roller device reduces muscle soreness and is accompanied by a higher PPT of the affected muscle.
Level of Evidence:
2c; outcomes research
PMCID: PMC3924612  PMID: 24567859
Cross over effect; delayed onset muscle soreness hyperalgesia; pain
2.  High Intensity Physical Exercise and Pain in the Neck and Upper Limb among Slaughterhouse Workers: Cross-Sectional Study 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:218546.
Slaughterhouse work involves a high degree of repetitive and forceful upper limb movements and thus implies an elevated risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. High intensity strength training effectively rehabilitates musculoskeletal disorders among sedentary employees, but less is known about the effect among workers with repetitive and forceful work demands. Before performing randomized controlled trials it may be beneficial to assess the cross-sectional connection between exercise and musculoskeletal pain. We investigated the association between high intensity physical exercise and pain among 595 slaughterhouse workers in Denmark, Europe. Using logistic regression analyses, odds ratios for pain and work disability as a function of physical exercise, gender, age, BMI, smoking, and job position were estimated. The prevalence of pain in the neck, shoulder, elbow, and hand/wrist was 48%, 60%, 40%, and 52%, respectively. The odds for experiencing neck pain were significantly lower among slaughterhouse workers performing physical exercise (OR = 0.70, CI: 0.49–0.997), whereas the odds for pain in the shoulders, elbow, or hand/wrist were not associated with exercise. The present study can be used as general reference of pain in the neck and upper extremity among slaughterhouse workers. Future studies should investigate the effect of high intensity physical exercise on neck and upper limb pain in slaughterhouse workers.
PMCID: PMC3910536  PMID: 24527440
Decreased hip muscle strength is frequently reported in patients with hip injury or pathology. Furthermore, soccer players suffering from groin injury show decreased strength of hip muscles. Estimating 10‐repetition maximum can be time‐consuming and difficult, thus, using the Borg category rating 10 scale (Borg CR10 scale) can be a useful tool for estimating the intensity of exercise. The aims of this study were 1) to investigate the feasibility of the use of the Borg CR10 scale for rating strength training intensity of the hip abductor and hip adductor muscles, and 2) to compare hip muscle activity during hip abduction and hip adduction exercises using elastic resistance and isotonic machines, using electromyography (EMG).
EMG activity was recorded from 11 muscles at the hip, thigh and trunk during hip adduction and hip abduction exercises in 16 untrained women, using elastic resistance and isotonic exercise machines. These recordings were normalized to maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) EMG (nEMG). The exercises were performed at four levels of perceived loading reported using the Borg CR10: light (Borg ≤2), moderate (Borg >2–<5), heavy (Borg ≥5–<7) and near maximum (Borg ≥7).
Moderate to strong associations were observed between perceived loading and nEMG obtained during the adduction exercise with elastic resistance (r=0.8±0.3) as well as in machine (r=0.69±0.55) and the abduction exercise with elastic resistance (r=0.66±0.29) as well as in machine (r =0.62±0.54). The abduction exercise performed with elastic resistance displayed significantly higher gluteus medius nEMG recruitment than the in machine exercise.
The results of this study show that the Borg CR10 scale can be a useful tool for estimating intensity levels during resistance training of the hip adductor and hip abductor muscles. Although elastic resistance and exercise machine seem equally effective for recruiting muscle activity of the hip adductors, the elastic resistance condition was able to demonstrate greater muscle recruitment than the exercise machine during hip abduction.
PMCID: PMC3867074  PMID: 24377067
Elastic resistance; hip adduction; hip abduction; strength training
4.  Participatory ergonomic intervention versus strength training on chronic pain and work disability in slaughterhouse workers: study protocol for a single-blind, randomized controlled trial 
The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in the shoulder, arm and hand is high among slaughterhouse workers, allegedly due to the highly repetitive and forceful exposure of these body regions during work. Work disability is a common consequence of these pains. Lowering the physical exposure through ergonomics intervention is the traditional strategy to reduce the workload. An alternative strategy could be to increase physical capacity of the worker through strength training. This study investigates the effect of two contrasting interventions, participatory ergonomics versus strength training on pain and work disability in slaughterhouse workers with chronic pain.
66 slaughterhouse workers were allocated to 10 weeks of (1) strength training of the shoulder, arm and hand muscles for 3 x 10 minutes per week, or (2) participatory ergonomics involving counseling on workstation adjustment and optimal use of work tools (~usual care control group). Inclusion criteria were (1) working at a slaughterhouse for at least 30 hours per week, (2) pain intensity in the shoulder, elbow/forearm, or hand/wrist of at least 3 on a 0–10 VAS scale during the last three months, (3) pain lasting for more than 3 months, (4) frequent pain (at least 3 days per week) (5) at least moderate work disability, (6) no strength training during the last year, (7) no ergonomics instruction during the last year.
Perceived pain intensity (VAS scale 0–10) of the shoulder, elbow/forearm and hand/wrist (primary outcome) and Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (Work module, DASH questionnaire) were measured at baseline and 10-week follow-up. Further, total muscle tenderness score and muscle function were assessed during clinical examination at baseline and follow-up.
This RCT study will provide experimental evidence of the effectiveness of contrasting work-site interventions aiming at reducing chronic pain and work disability among employees engaged in repetitive and forceful work.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3606231  PMID: 23433448
Musculoskeletal disorders; Occupational health; Shoulder pain; Tennis elbow; Repetitive and forceful movements
Swiss ball training is recommended as a low intensity modality to improve joint position, posture, balance, and neural feedback. However, proper training intensity is difficult to obtain during Swiss ball exercises whereas strengthening exercises on machines usually are performed to induce high level of muscle activation.
To compare muscle activation as measured by electromyography (EMG) of global core and thigh muscles during abdominal crunches performed on Swiss ball with elastic resistance or on an isotonic training machine when normalized for training intensity.
42 untrained individuals (18 men and 24 women) aged 28–67 years participated in the study. EMG activity was measured in 13 muscles during 3 repetitions with a 10 RM load during both abdominal crunches on training ball with elastic resistance and in the same movement utilizing a training machine (seated crunch, Technogym, Cesena, Italy). The order of performance of the exercises was randomized, and EMG amplitude was normalized to maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) EMG.
When comparing between muscles, normalized EMG was highest in the rectus abdominis (P<0.01) and the external obliques (P<0.01). However, crunches on Swiss ball with elastic resistance showed higher activity of the rectus abdominis than crunches performed on the machine (104±3.8 vs 84±3.8% nEMG respectively, P<0.0001). By contrast, crunches performed on Swiss ball induced lower activity of the rectus femoris than crunches in training machine (27±3.7 vs 65±3.8% nEMG respectively, P<0.0001) Further, gender, age and musculoskeletal pain did not significantly influence the findings.
Crunches on a Swiss ball with added elastic resistance induces high rectus abdominis activity accompanied by low hip flexor activity which could be beneficial for individuals with low back pain. In opposition, the lower rectus abdominis activity and higher rectus femoris activity observed in machine warrant caution for individuals with lumbar pain. Importantly, both men and women, younger and elderly, and individuals with and without pain benefitted equally from the exercises.
PMCID: PMC3414069  PMID: 22893857
abdominal crunch; elastic resistance; electromyographic activity; exercise ball
6.  Effect of brief daily resistance training on rapid force development in painful neck and shoulder muscles: randomized controlled trial 
Objective: To determine the effect of small daily amounts of progressive resistance training on rapid force development of painful neck/shoulder muscles.
Methods: 198 generally healthy adults with frequent neck/shoulder muscle pain (mean: age 43·1 years, computer use 93% of work time, 88% women, duration of pain 186 day during the previous year) were randomly allocated to 2- or 12 min of daily progressive resistance training with elastic tubing or to a control group receiving weekly information on general health. A blinded assessor took measures at baseline and at 10-week follow-up; participants performed maximal voluntary contractions at a static 90-degree shoulder joint angle. Rapid force development was determined as the rate of torque development and maximal muscle strength was determined as the peak torque.
Results: Compared with the control group, rate of torque development increased 31·0 Nm s−1 [95% confidence interval: (1·33–11·80)] in the 2-min group and 33·2 Nm s−1 (1·66–12·33) in the 12-min group from baseline to 10-week follow-up, corresponding to an increase of 16·0% and 18·2% for the two groups, respectively. The increase was significantly different compared to controls (P<0·05) for both training groups. Maximal muscle strength increased only ∼5–6% [mean and 95% confidence interval for 2- and 12-min groups to control, respectively: 2·5 Nm (0·05–0·73) and 2·2 Nm (0·01–0·70)]. No significant differences between the 2- and 12-min groups were evident. A weak but significant relationship existed between changes in rapid force development and pain (r = 0·27, P<0·01), but not between changes in maximal muscle strength and pain.
Conclusion: Small daily amounts of progressive resistance training in adults with frequent neck/shoulder pain increases rapid force development and, to a less extent, maximal force capacity.
PMCID: PMC3799013  PMID: 23758661
fear; gate control; neck and shoulder pain; rehabilitation; resistance training; threat

Results 1-6 (6)