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Intervention Effective for Workers With Back Pain

Last Updated: June 12, 2009.

A workplace intervention for workers on sick leave due to nonspecific low back pain is most effective for older workers and those with previous sick leave, according to a study in the May 20 issue of Spine.

FRIDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- A workplace intervention for workers on sick leave due to nonspecific low back pain is most effective for older workers and those with previous sick leave, according to a study in the May 20 issue of Spine.

Henrica C. W. de Vet, Ph.D., from the Institute for Work and Health in Toronto, and colleagues performed a subgroup analysis of a trial that had randomly assigned 196 workers on sick leave due to subacute nonspecific low back pain to a workplace graded activity intervention or usual care.

The researchers found that the workplace intervention was most effective for the return to work of workers 44 years of age and older (hazard ratio, 2.5 versus 1.2 for younger workers) and for workers with sick leave in the previous year (hazard ratio, 2.8 versus 1.3). Gender, heavy work, pain level, and functional status had no effect on the effectiveness of the intervention.

"This workplace intervention seems very suitable for return to work of older workers and workers with previous sick leave," de Vet and colleagues conclude. "Gender, perceived heavy work, and baseline scores in pain and functional status should not be a basis for assignment to this intervention."

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