Low back pain - exercise and education most effective

low back pain - exercise and education most effective

13 January 2016

Forget back belts and insoles – the best way to prevent lower back pain is a combination of exercise and education.

That’s the conclusion of Australian researchers who analysed 21 trials involving more than 30,000 patients.

They found moderate-quality evidence that a combination of exercise and education reduces the risk of a lower back pain episode by 45%.

But they also found the effect size tends to diminish after the one-year mark, suggesting the importance of long-term behavioural change.

Most trials had participants do 2–3 exercise sessions per week at a clinic in addition to at-home exercises, for as little as 8 weeks to as many as 18 months.

They found exercise alone may reduce the risk of a lower back pain episode by about a third, but that the evidence was of low quality. 

There was no evidence to support education alone or the use of insoles or back belts.

References

Prevention of low back pain. JAMA Internal Medicine, online.
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