Effect of an exercise programme for the prevention of back and neck pain in poultry slaughterhouse workers

Occup Ther Int. 2015 Mar;22(1):36-42. doi: 10.1002/oti.1382. Epub 2014 Oct 29.


The objectives of this study were to determine the effectiveness of a programme of prevention exercises conducted in a corporate environment in poultry industry slaughterers suffering from musculoskeletal disorders. Forty workers, 70% female (mean ± SD age: 44.4 ± 8.4 years) were consecutively, in an alternative way, assigned to one of two groups receiving either set of 10 sessions (experimental or control group). The experimental group followed an exercise programme for a period of five weeks and a protocol of home exercises. The control group performed the exercise protocol only at home. The Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) to measure disability, the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) score and the Pain Drawing to measure pain were used as outcome evaluations. A significant effect of time interaction (all P <0.001 and; F = 40.673; F = 33.907 and F = 25.447) existed for lumbar VAS, RMDQ and ODI immediately after the intervention (all P < 0.006). No significant group effect or group-by-time interaction was detected for any of them, which suggests that both groups improved in the same way. This study shows that a programme of prevention exercises may have a positive effect in improving musculoskeletal disorders of slaughterhouse workers. Pain decreased in the lumbar region, and there was an almost significant reduction in disability.

Keywords: exercise; low back pain; musculoskeletal disorders; neck pain work; prevention and control.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abattoirs*
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Neck Pain / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Poultry
  • Program Evaluation
  • Treatment Outcome