In two Norwegian industrial companies, 42 employees (24 female / 18 male) with shoulder, neck and back problems, took part in a training program over a 12-month period. The program comprised daily relaxation exercises at work combined with training at home for about 30 minutes three times a week.

The Norwegian-designed physiotherapy and training apparatus, TerapiMaster, was used both at work and at home. The training program was developed and monitored by an experienced physiotherapist The observations made during the training program focused on changes in the rate of absence due to illness during the study compared with the pre-study rate of absence due to illness.

For employees with musculo-skeletal ailments, the combination of relaxation exercises and physical training, with professional instruction and follow-up, significantly reduced the rate of absence due to illness from 11,2 days per year (Pre-study) to 0,2 days per year (at the end of the 12-month training period) (p<0,001) A follow-up 30 months after completion of the formal study showed that absence due to illness had remained at the reduced rate, probably because positive experiences and ‘good habits’ formed during the study encouraged the paticipants to continue the training program The article is only available in Norwegian.