Low back pain interventions at the workplace: a systematic literature review

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ObjectiveTo assess the effect of controlled workplace interventions on low back pain (LBP) through a review of controlled studies. The rising costs of employees with LBP have resulted in an abundance of offers to society and organizations of interventions to prevent and/or treat the problem. Little is known of the effect of the different interventions.MethodsA systematic literature search based on the inclusion criteria: controlled trial, work setting and assessment of at least one of the four main outcome measures: sick leave; costs; new episodes of LBP; and pain. Effect of the interventions was reported for the four main outcome measures.ResultsThirty-one publications from 28 interventions were found to comply with the inclusion criteria. Exercise interventions to prevent LBP among employees and interventions to treat employees with LBP have documented an effect on sick leave, costs and new episodes of LBP. Multidisciplinary interventions have documented an effect on the level of pain.ConclusionsThe results show that there is good reason to be careful when considering interventions aiming to prevent LBP among employees. Of all the workplace interventions only exercise and the comprehensive multidisciplinary and treatment interventions have a documented effect on LBP. There is a need for studies employing good methodology.

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