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Scand J Work Environ Health. 1993 Aug;19(4):284-90.

Electromyographic evaluation of muscular work pattern as a predictor of trapezius myalgia.

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National Institute of Occupational Health, Department of Physiology, Oslo, Norway.


Electromyographic (EMG) measurements and interviews concerning muscular pain and disability were performed prospectively every 10th week on 30 healthy new female employees of a chocolate manufacturing plant. The static muscle activity and rate of short unconscious interruptions in EMG activity (EMG gaps) of the trapezius muscle during repetitive work tasks were evaluated as possible risk factors for patient status with trapezius myalgia. At the start of employment, the static and median contraction levels were significantly higher in future patients than in the rest of the subjects (nonpatients). In subsequent recordings these values were reduced to the level of the nonpatients. Throughout the study, the future patients had a lower frequency of EMG gaps than the nonpatients. A regression analysis showed a significant value for a low rate of EMG gaps to predict future patient status.

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