Posted by: Chris Maloney | August 17, 2012

Avoiding Low Back Pain: Get A Tutor.

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PubMed® Logo (Photo credit: dullhunk)

If you’ve ever worked in a factory or a warehouse, you’ve probably seen the posters telling you to lift with your legs and not with your back.  So how effective are those, and how effective are required back pain prevention classes?

Not very effective, it turns out.  Basically, they make no real difference in back pain prevention.  If you want to make a difference in back pain prevention what you need is a personal tutor.  Almost three hours of personal instruction is necessary to make a dent in the chances of future back pain. 

So how many of you have hired a “back tutor?”

Eur Spine J. 2012 Jul 27. [Epub ahead of print]

Effectiveness of preventive back educational interventions for low back pain: a critical review of randomized controlled clinical trials.


Department of Motricity Sciences and Rehabilitation, University of Liège, ISEPK (B21), Allée des Sports 4, 4000, Liège, Belgium,



A systematic search was conducted to study the efficiency of preventive educational interventions mainly focused on a biomechanical/biomedical model.


The Pubmed electronic database and the Cochrane Library were searched based on a combination of keywords related to low back pain (LBP) and posture education. Only randomized controlled trial (RCT) studying the efficiency on outcomes directly related to LBP of a preventive intervention programme mainly based on education of proper care of the back for subjects not seeking treatment were included. References of the articles meeting these inclusion criteria were also checked to identify other potential citations. Besides, a methodological study assessment of the included RCTs was performed.


Nine studies, all conducted at the workplace were included in this review. Their mean quality level was low (5.1/12) and among the four studies with a huge sample size (n > 400 subjects), only one had an acceptable methodological quality score (6/12). The education interventions differed widely from one study to another. No significant differences between the control and education groups were found at the follow-up in eight out of the nine studies on the incidence of back pain, disability and sick leave.


The results of the RCTs included in this review suggest that educational interventions mainly focused on a biomechanical/biomedical model are not effective in preventing LBP. However, taking into account the methodological quality level of the RCTs as well as the very short and heterogeneous interventions often proposed, additional high-quality studies with a longer education period are needed to conclude that such interventions are inefficient.

PMID:  22836365

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