Table 1

Characteristic of RCTs included in the systematic review of prevention strategies to reduce future impact of LBP

SourceStudy designCountryParticipantsOutcome measureStudy groupsTime and frequency of interventionsFollow-up period (mo)
Barene et al 17 C-RCTNorway118 hospital employees; mean (SD) age, 45.8 (9.3) y; female (91%)LBP intensity
LBP duration
I1: Exercise: soccer
I2: Exercise: zumba
C: No intervention
Two–three 1 hour sessions per wk over 40 wks for both intervention groups10 mo
Chaléat-Valayer et al 8 RCTFrance342 healthcare workers from 10 hospitals; mean (SD) age, 47.2 (8.5) y; female (77%)LBP intensity (VAS)
disability (QBPDS)
I: Education and exercise training sessions
C: No intervention
Single 2 hours education session and 5 weekly 90 min group exercise sessions18 mo
Donaldson et al 18 RCTCanada172 hospital employees; mean (SD) age NR; sex NRLBP intensity (MPQ)I: Education course (classes)
C: No intervention
9 classes, 1.5 hours each12 mo
Donchin et al 19 RCTIsrael142 hospital employees; mean (SD) age, 46.0 (NR) y; female (66%)LBP (painful months)I1: Exercise: calisthenics
I2: Exercise: back school
C: No intervention
I1: 45 min sessions, biweekly, for 3 mo
I2: 4×90 min sessions during a 2 wks
12 mo
Driessen et al 20 C-RCTThe Netherlands3047 workers from 4 Dutch companies; mean (SD) age, 42.0 (10.95) y; female (41%)LBP intensity (VAS)
LBP duration
I: Ergonomics programme
C: Minimal intervention
I: Use the ergonomics programme while on duty
C: Three short education videos
12 mo
Eggen et al 21 RCTNorway257 healthy pregnant women before gestation week 20; mean (SD) age, 30.3 (4.8) y; female (100%)LBP intensity (VAS)
disability (RMDQ)
I: Exercise: group classes and home exercises
C: No intervention
1× per wk 1 hour group exercise session for 16–20 wks4 mo
Fanucchi et al 22 RCTSouth Africa72 children in grade 6 and grade 7 primary school; mean (SD) age, 12.3 (0.7) y; female (46%)LBP intensity (VAS)I: Education and exercise sessions
C: No intervention
8× classes 40–45 min each over 8 wks6 mo
Garshasbi and Faghih Zadeh23 RCTIran212 pregnant women (17–22 weeks of gestation); mean (SD) age, 26.4 (4.6) y; female (100%)LBP intensity (KQ)I: Exercise training
C: No intervention
3× per wk for 60 min each for 12 wks3 mo
Gatty24 RCTUSA16 clerical and office workers; mean (SD) age, NR; female (100%)LBP intensity (VAS)
LBP duration
I: Ergonomics: implementation of individualised work injury prevention programme
C: No intervention
1 hour session over 4 wks period (four sessions)9 mo
Glomsrød et al 25 RCTNorway81 community and participants referred from primary care clinicians; mean (SD) age, 39.4 (6.8) y; female (54%)LBP intensity (VAS)
disability (VAS)
I: Exercise and education
C: No intervention
2 sessions per wk for 7 wks;
1 session per wk for 6 wks; each session 60 min
36 mo
Gundewall et al 26 RCTSweden69 hospital nurses/nurse’s aides; mean (SD) age, 37.5 (10.5) y; female (98%)LBP durationI: Exercise: back muscle exercises
C: No intervention
6× monthly sessions of 20 min each13 mo
Haufe et al 27 RCTGermany226 workers from three medium-sized companies; mean (SD) age, 42.7 (10.2) y; female (40%)LBP intensity (VAS)
disability (ODI)
I: General exercise training and individual counselling/supervision sessions
C: Continue their current lifestyle
I: 20 min non-supervised general exercise session 3× per wk. 5× once monthly counselling session5 mo
Ijzelenberg et al 28 C-RCTThe Netherlands489 workers performing physically demanding jobs in companies; mean (SD) age, 41.3 (9.7) y; female (3%)LBP intensity (NRS)
disability (RMDQ)
I: Education and ergonomics adjustments
C: Usual care: healthcare for LBP
3× group training sessions. Unclear frequency12 mo
Irvine et al 29 RCTUSA597 workers from 4 companies also general work population; mean (SD) age, NR; female (60%)LBP intensity
LBP duration
LBP functionality
I1: Education: FitBack website program
I2: Education: alternative care
C: No intervention
I: Weekly emails and unlimited access to online material during study period4 mo
Jensen et al 7 C-RCTDenmark210 home care workers, nurses and nurse’s aides; mean (SD) age, 44.3 (8.9) y; female (100%)LBP intensity (NRS)I1: Education: transfer technique intervention
I2: Education: stress management intervention
C: No intervention
I1: 2×4 hours classes and 30 hours site education (6 mo)
I2: Group sessions every 2 wks for 2 hours (20 wks)
24 mo
Kamioka et al 30 C-RCTJapan88 female caregivers from 4 nursing homes in Tokyo; mean (SD) age, 38.15 (13.75) y; female (100%)LBP intensity (VAS)I: Education lecture and stretching exercise
C: No intervention
Single lecture of 30 min; 1 hour exercises. Daily stretching (6 min)3 mo
Ketola et al 31 RCTFinland109 office workers; mean (range) age, 48.0 (29 to 59) y; female (60%)LBP discomfortI1: Intensive ergonomics
I2: Ergonomics education
C: No intervention
I1: Around 2 hours of implementation
I2: A single 1 hour session
10 mo
Lønn et al 32 RCTNorway81 community and participants referred from primary care clinicians; mean (SD) age, 39.4 (6.8) y; female (54%)LBP intensity (VAS)
disability (VAS)
I: Exercise and education
C: No intervention
2 sessions per wk for 7 wks
1 session per wk for 6 wks; each session 60 min
12 mo
Menzel et al 33 RCTUSA31 registered nurses and nursing aides; mean (SD) age, 41.94 (9.0) y; female (97%)LBP intensity (VAS)
disability (ODI)
I: Education: psychoeducational sessions for stress and pain management
C: No intervention
6×1.5 hours group discussion session3 mo
Pedersen et al 34 C-RCTDenmark537 laboratory technicians; mean (SD) age, 42.0 (10.5) y; female (85%)LBP intensity (VAS)I: Exercise training sessions
C: No intervention
3× weekly for 20 min each over 5 mo5 mo
Pedersen et al 35 C-RCTDenmark549 office workers; mean (SD) age, 45.1 (9.4) y; female (64%)LBP durationI1: Specific resistance training
I2: All-round physical exercise
C: Reference group: group discussion to improve knowledge on health and working conditions
I1: 3× per wk for 20 min 12 mo
I2: 1× introductory session at worksite; 1 hour per wk
12 mo
Soukup et al 37 RCTNorway77 community and primary care participants; mean (SD) age, 37.7 (8.0) y; female (53%)LBP intensity (VAS)
Disability (VAS)
I: Mensendieck exercises and ergonomics
C: No intervention
20 sessions for 60 min over a period of 13 wks36 mo
Soukup et al 36 RCTNorway77 community and primary care participants; mean (SD) age, 37.7 (8.0) y; female (53%)LBP intensity (VAS)
disability (VAS)
I: Mensendieck exercises and ergonomics education
C: No intervention
20 sessions for 60 min over a period of 13 wks12 mo
Tuchin38 RCTAustralia61 employees of a large mailing house; mean (SD) age NR; sex NRDisability (ODI)I: A comprehensive spinal pain education lecture including advice on effective exercises
C: Advice on stretching procedures used for sports ‘warm-up’
I: Single 120 min lecture session
C: Daily over 6 mo period
6 mo
van Poppel* et al 39 C-RCTThe Netherlands312 airline company workers; mean (SD) age, 35.1 (7.8) y; sex NRLBP durationI1: Lumbar support+education
I2: Lumbar support only
I3: Education only
C: No intervention
Lumbar support: wear for 6 mo (work hours)
Education (lifting instructions): 1×2 hours; 2×1.5 hours; 3×(12 wks)
C: No intervention
6 mo
Warming et al 40 C-RCTDenmark181 hospital nurses; mean (SD) age, 35.2 (10.5) y; female (90%)LBP intensity (NQ)
disability (RS)
I1: Education: transfer technique
I2: Education and physical training (TTPT)
C: No intervention
I1: 2×6 wks sessions
I2: 2× per wk for 1 hour (8 wks)
12 mo
Yassi et al 41 C-RCTCanada346 staff performing patient lifts and transfers (nurses and unit assistants); mean (SD) age NR; sex NRLBP discomfort
disability (ODI)
I1: Education: safe lifting programme (Arm B)
I2: Education: no strenuous lifting programme (Arm C)
C: Usual practice (Arm A)
I1 and I2: 3 hours single session12 mo
  • *The study by van Poppel et al 39 was analysed as a 2×2 factorial design (ie, four groups) with the following intervention contrasts: lumbar support vs no lumbar support, and education vs no education.

  • C, control group; C-RCT, cluster randomised controlled trial; I, intervention group; KQ, KEBK Questionnaire; LBP, low back pain; mo, month; MPQ, McGill Pain Questionnaire; NQ, Nordic Questionnaire; NR, not reported; NRS, Numeric Rating Scale; ODI, Oswestry Disability Index; QBPDS, Quebec Back Pain Disability Scale; RCT, randomised controlled trial; RMDQ, Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire; RS, Rating Scale; TTPT, transfer technique and physical activity; VAS, Visual Analogue Scale; wk, week; y, year.