September Golden Research Article

Dose-response of resistance training for neck-and shoulder pain relief: A workplace intervention study

Saeterbakken et al. (2020)


Neck pain is a common condition with considerable personal and societal burden. Neck pain is a notable complaint for office workers, with work-based resistance training often being a strategy recommended to reduce the burden of neck pain.

The aim of this study was to compare the effect of two different doses of work-based resistance training on pain relief and strength among workers with mild to moderate neck and shoulder pain.


30 participants first undertook an 8 week control period (or baseline), followed by 8 weeks of either once daily 10 minute or twice daily 10 minute exercise sessions, five days per week. Four exercises were included in total, which consisted of: one arm row, upright row, one arm reverse flies and one arm lateral raises.

To be included in the study, participants were required to have mild to moderate neck pain for a minimum of three months, and perform low intensity static contractions during work such as those who complete computer work, hairdressing or dentistry.

Participants were tested prior to the control period, between the control and training period, and after the training period.


The results showed no significant differences between the frequency of training for any variable, suggesting that performing the exercises twice per day did not have any additional benefit compared to performing the exercises once per day.

When comparing the two exercise dosage groups to the control/baseline period, statistically significant reductions in the average and worst pain (25% and 43% respectively) were seen. Importantly, these reductions were not seen during the control intervention.

Participants reported health-related quality of life also improved by around 10%. Interestingly, no changes in strength were observed though, this may be explained by a longer time frame being needed to see strength changes. Thus, the changes seen with the exercise program were not necessarily due to changed strength but likely other factors such as decreased muscle and pain perception, or even the collegiate environment created by the exercise sessions.

Key Points

Daily exercise interventions of a total time of one hour per week could decrease and or prevent neck pain, however, more work is needed to demonstrate any preventative benefit.

This study recommends completing exercises once per day due to seeing better compliance rates as well as there being no difference to the overall effectiveness to performing the exercises twice daily.

If you are suffering from neck pain and would like advice on how to best manage your symptoms please get in contact with our friendly team on 4260 8574.

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