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April/May 2016 (vol. 12/6)

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Research Plus

Low back pain prevention

This systematic review and meta-analyses of 21 randomised controlled trials covering more than 30,000 participants finds that exercise can reduce the risk of non-specific low back pain (LBP). There is moderate-quality evidence that exercise combined with education reduces the risk of an LBP episode in the short term (less than 12 months) by nearly half (relative risk (RR) = 0.55; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.41–0.74), and low-quality evidence that it reduces risk in the longer term (over 12 months) (RR = 0.73; CI 0.55–0.96). There is low-quality evidence that exercise alone reduces the risk of an LBP episode in the short term (RR = 0.65; CI 0.50–0.86), and very low-quality evidence that it reduces the risk of sickness absence in the long term (RR = 0.22; CI 0.06–0.76). Education, back belts and shoe inserts did not reduce LBP risk.

 

JAMA Internal Medicine 2016; 176(2): 199–208. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7431.

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Occupational Health at Work April/May 2016 (vol. 12/6) pp40