Randomized Controlled Trial of Physiotherapy and Feldenkrais Interventions in Female Workers with Neck-Shoulder Complaints


The present study aimed to investigate whether physiotherapy or Feldenkrais interventions resulted in a reduction of complaints from the neck and shoulders (prevalence, pain intensity, sick leave, and disability in leisure and work roles) in 97 female industrial workers (not on long-term sick leave). Range of motion of neck and shoulders, VO2 , endurance score (i.e., summation of pain intensity ratings during a static shoulder flexion), cortical control according to the Feldenkrais methodology, and physiological capacity according to a dynamic endurance test of the shoulder flexors with simultaneous surface EMG were also recorded. The workers were randomized to: (1) physiotherapy group (PT-group; treatment according to the ergonomic program of the PTs of the occupational health care service), (2) Feldenkrais group (F-group; education according to the Feldenkrais methodology), or (3) control group (C-group; no intervention). Pre- and post-tests were made at one-year intervals. The two interventions lasted 16 weeks during paid working time. The F-group showed significant decreases in complaints from neck and shoulders and in disability during leisure time. The two other groups showed no change (PT-group) or worsening of complaints (C-group). The present study showed significant positive changes in complaints after the Feldenkrais intervention but not after the physiotherapy intervention. Possible mechanisms behind the effects in the F-group are discussed.

Key words: Feldenkrais; intervention, musculoskeletal; neck; pain; physiotherapy; rehabilitation; shoulders; women; work-related

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