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Free weight training gets workers with rotator cuff injuries back on the job

Resistance training, some of it job-specific, was successful in getting 90 percent of workers with severe rotator cuff injuries back to work, the majority (75 percent) at their previous job, after traditional physical therapy had failed to do so. Furthermore, all but one of the 42 employees in the study (98 percent) reported satisfaction with the resistance-training program and its outcome.

Dr. Jamie Stark described this and five related studies of workers suffering work-related rotator cuff and lumbar fusion injuries at Experimental Biology 2007, meeting in Washington, DC. His presentations, on April 29, are part of the scientific program of The American Physiological Society.

Participants in the rotator cuff study represent a class of "worse-case-scenarios" of work-related injuries. Rotator cuff injuries involve those muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder and can be caused by pulling the arm out of place, by falls and other accidents. All 42 of the employees had been through surgery to repair their torn muscles or ligaments. All had already gone through weeks of traditional rehabilitation and physical therapy. Even so, none had been judged capable of going back to work and thus were eligible for disability and workmen's compensation settlements.

This was just the patient population Dr. Stark, director of Research and Development at the Athletic and Therapeutic Institute in Chicago and his colleagues at the research division of the Institute wanted. Nothing had worked for these patients, and the researchers figured that what would work for them also would work for employees with less severe injuries.

The injured employees attended the Institute program four hours a day, five days a week, on average for six weeks. Their daily training began with warm up, stretching, and core exercises for balance and proper biomechanics, then moved to free weight resistance training of the upper and lower body. Unlike t
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Contact: Sylvia Wrobel
ebpress@bellsouth.net
770-270-0989
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
29-Apr-2007


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