Ergonomics Musculoskeletal disorders

Exercise programs improve MSDs among poultry workers: study

Bologna, Italy – A preventive exercise program may help poultry slaughterhouse workers reduce pain from musculoskeletal disorders, according to a study from the University of Bologna in Italy.

Forty workers participated in the project: 20 workers exercised at home, and the other 20 agreed to meet regularly with a physical therapist in addition to taking part in home exercises. The physical therapy sessions lasted about an hour and took place twice a week for five weeks. Interventions included postural exercises, relaxation, and stretching the lumbar spine and lower limbs.

Both groups showed improvement, researchers said. The group who took part in physical therapy sessions along with home sessions exhibited slightly better improvement.

“The significant improvement of low back pain suggests that these exercises have a potential impact on reducing low back pain and disability in slaughterhouse workers,” the researchers stated.

The findings could help workers with MSDs to recover more quickly from back pain caused by repetitive motion activities, they said.

NIOSH recommends that employers implement OSHA’s Guidelines for Poultry Processing.

The study was published in the March issue of Occupational Therapy International.