Effects of a Two-School-Year Multifactorial Back Education Program in Elementary Schoolchildren

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Abstract

Study Design.

A quasi-experimental pre/post design.

Objective.

To investigate effects of a 2-school-year multifactorial back education program on back posture knowledge and postural behavior in elementary schoolchildren. Additionally, self-reported back or neck pain and fear-avoidance beliefs were evaluated.

Summary of Background Data.

Epidemiologic studies report mounting nonspecific back pain prevalence among youngsters, characterized by multifactorial risk factors. Study findings of school-based interventions are promising. Furthermore, biomechanical discomfort is found in the school environment.

Methods.

The study sample included 193 intervention children and 172 controls (baseline, 9-to-11-year-olds). The multifactorial intervention consisted of a back education program and the stimulation of postural dynamism in the class through support and environmental changes. Evaluation consisted of a questionnaire, an observation of postural behavior in the classroom, and an observation of material handling during a movement session.

Results.

The intervention resulted in increased back posture knowledge (P < 0.001), improved postural behavior during material handling (P < 0.001), and decreased duration of trunk flexion (P < 0.05) and neck torsion (P < 0.05) during lesson time. The intervention did not change fear-avoidance beliefs. There was a trend for decreased pain reports in boys of the intervention group (P < 0.09).

Conclusions.

The intervention resulted in improved postural aspects related to spinal loading. The long-term effect of improved postural behavior at young age on back pain prevalence later in life is of interest for future research.

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