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Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of an exercise therapy program on pain and physical dimension of health-related quality of life for young adults with musculoskeletal pain.

Design: This is a randomized controlled single-blind trial. Fifty-seven subjects (58% women) were randomly assigned to experimental [n = 28, 21.4 (2.9) yrs] and control [n = 29, 21.0 (4.2) yrs] groups. The experimental group participated in a 9-wk stabilization exercise therapy program, 60 mins/wk, whereas the control group did not exercise, with a preintervention and postintervention assessment. Primary outcome was Physical Component Summary of SF-36. Secondary outcomes were Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire, Visual Analogue Scale, Oswestry Disability Index, Neck Disability Index, and Trunk Flexor Endurance Test. The Shapiro-Wilk, independent t test or Mann-Whitney U test, X2, or Fisher's exact test were used for statistical analysis.

Results: After intervention, the experimental group improved by 3.2 (4.5) points on the Physical Component Summary (P = 0.01), decreased prevalence of low back pain in the last month (P = 0.02) and cervical disability (P = 0.02), and increased flexor trunk endurance (P = 0.005).

Conclusions: This study confirmed that a 9-wk progressive exercise therapy program can improve physical health and reduce the prevalence of cervical disability and low back pain in the last month in young adults with musculoskeletal pain.

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