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J Headache Pain. 2011 Jun;12(3):339-45. doi: 10.1007/s10194-011-0291-y. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Effectiveness of an educational and physical program in reducing accompanying symptoms in subjects with head and neck pain: a workplace controlled trial.

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  • 1Unit of Headache-Facial Pain, Department of Clinical Pathophysiology, University of Turin, 14 Corso Dogliotti, 10126, Turin, Italy.


The objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of an educational and physical program in reducing behavioral or somatic symptoms along with headache, neck and shoulder pain in a working community. A controlled, non-randomized trial was carried out in a working community and 384 employees were enrolled and divided into a study group (Group 1) and a control group (Group 2). The Group 1 received a physical and educational intervention, consisting of relaxation and posture exercises and the use of visual feedback. After 6 months, the intervention was administered to the Group 2. Both groups were then followed for an additional 6 months until the end of the trial. The presence of accompanying symptoms was investigated with a semi-structured interview using a checklist of 20 items, along with headache, neck, and shoulder pain parameters and the prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder and depression, in three clinical examinations at baseline, after 6 months and after 12 months. For each symptom, as well as the presence of any type of symptom, the differences between groups in the prevalence at the clinical examinations following the baseline were evaluated by applying logistic models. After 6 months, the probability of the presence of any type of symptom was significantly lower in the Group 1 (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.56-0.85) with respect to the Group 2. After 12 months, the pooled estimation did not show any significant difference of symptom prevalence between groups (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.64-1.00). In conclusion, this is the first longitudinal study relative to accompanying symptoms. Its results suggest the effectiveness of this cognitive program in reducing the burden of physical and psychiatric complaints in a large, working population.

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