We previously published the results of a controlled trial that showed the efficacy of a workplace educational and physical program in reducing headache, and neck and shoulder pain. Participants recorded daily pain episodes in diaries; after 2 months of baseline observation, the program was administered to the intervention arm only, and comparison with the control arm was performed at month 8. The objective of the present study was to confirm the long-term (14 months from the beginning of the study) benefit of the program in the intervention arm of the study (192 office employees). Outcome measures of the present analyses were: 1) the number of days/month with headache, and neck and shoulder pain; 2) the frequency of days with analgesic drug consumption; 3) the proportion of subjects with 4 or more days/month with headache or neck and shoulder pain at baseline who achieved a > or =50% reduction in pain (responder rate). Days/month with headache decreased from 5.50 at baseline (months 1-2) to 3.11 at months 13-14 (P < .001); from 6.79 to 3.88 (P < .001) for neck and shoulder pain; and from 1.72 to 0.86 (P < .001) for analgesic consumption. Responder rates were 58.8% (95%CI = 47.1-70.5) for headache, 60.9% (49.4-72.4) for neck and shoulder pain, and 68.2 % (48.7-87.6) for drug consumption. These results confirm that the program may be effective at long term.
Perspective: This article presents the results at long term of an educational and physical program in reducing headache, and neck and shoulder pain, in a working community. Since the benefits remained stable for a considerable period of time, a randomized trial is ongoing to confirm these results on a larger, less-selected working population.