Health Briefs

Health Briefs

Health & Fitness

October 12, 2003

Neck pain changed little

Neck pain is one of the most common occupational hazards for office workers, but the usual treatment and prevention advice -- muscle training and relaxation -- may not be especially effective.

A Finnish study of nearly 400 office workers found that ordinary activity was just as helpful as three months of strengthening exercise and relaxation training for chronic neck pain.

One group of women participated in a muscle-training and stretching program. Another group was taught to use relaxation exercises. The third group didn't participate in either type of training.

At three, six and 12 months, researchers found no difference among the groups in pain intensity, neck disability, work ability or muscle strength. Range of motion was slightly better in the training groups. The study was published in the British Medical Journal.

Heights worse with weight

Factors such as age, sex, level of exertion and speed of ascent all affect whether a person will become ill at high altitudes. Add being obese to the list.

Researchers at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas put 19 men in an altitude chamber that simulated being at 12,000 feet for 24 hours. They found that the obese men were more susceptible to acute mountain sickness.

The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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