Research Summary

Academy Title:andersen2011-headache
Research Article: Effect of brief daily exercise on headache among adults - secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial.
Headaches affect nearly 50% of adults (Jensen and Stovner, 2008). Several studies have shown that specific neck exercises with Thera-Band® elastic resistance bands can reduce the symptoms of headache (Ettekoven and Lucas, 2006; Ylinen et al. 2010).

A recent study in Denmark found that 2 minutes of exercise with Thera-Band tubing significantly reduced the frequency of headaches in office workers with neck/shoulder pain. Dr. Lars Andersen and his colleagues at the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen published their results in a free download in the Scandinavian Journal of Work and Environmental Health. Previously, the researchers reported that 2 minutes of daily Thera-Band tubing shoulder lateral raise exercise significantly reduced neck and shoulder pain over 10 weeks.

As part of their randomized controlled trial, Dr. Anderson and his colleagues wanted to know the effects of the exercise on workers with headache. Click here to see a video of the exercise. 198 office workers with chronic neck/shoulder pain were randomly assigned to either a 2 or 12-minute per day, 5 day a week exercise program, or a control group. After 10 weeks, both exercise groups had fewer headaches than the control group, although the intensity and duration remained unchanged.

The authors concluded that as little as 2 minutes of daily Thera-Band exercise for 10 weeks reduces headaches in office workers with neck/shoulder pain. They stated, “The vast number of adult workers suffering from one or two days of weekly headaches and who could potentially comply with and benefit from brief exercise programs stresses the applicability of our findings.”

REFERENCE: Andersen et al. 2011. Effect of brief daily exercise on headache among adults - secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2011 May 26. pii: 3170. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.3170. [Epub ahead of print]

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