Effects of vocationally oriented medical rehabilitation for aircraft maintenance personnel--a preliminary study of long-term effects with 5-year follow-up

J Occup Rehabil. 2004 Dec;14(4):233-42. doi: 10.1023/b:joor.0000047426.84072.18.


Changes in the physical capacity, musculoskeletal symptoms, and perceived work ability of Finnish Air Force maintenance personnel were studied after vocationally oriented medical rehabilitation (VOMR). Twenty persons with chronic musculoskeletal symptoms in their back or neck took part in VOMR courses. The measurements were carried out at the beginning of the rehabilitation course and after two follow-up periods (0.5 and 5 years). The subjects worked most of the time in a bent position and often with their backs twisted and their arms above their shoulders. The severity of low-back pain and the number of days of sick leave decreased significantly (p < 0.05-0.01) during the 5-years follow-up. Also the exercise breaks at work increased (p < 0.01). After half a year of medical rehabilitation the measured range of the cervical spine and the dynamic and endurance strength of the upper and lower extremities was greater (p < 0.05-0.001) than at the beginning of the rehabilitation. There were no statistically significant differences in the use of physical therapy, experienced work strain, physical exercise or maximal oxygen consumption during the follow-up. This is a preliminary follow-up study lasting 5 years showed some significant changes in physical capacity, musculoskeletal symptoms and work ability. However, controlled studies are needed to evaluate these preliminary findings of this kind of rehabilitation model.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aircraft
  • Chronic Disease
  • Finland
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Occupational Diseases / rehabilitation
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Workload / statistics & numerical data