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Exercise alone and exercise combined with education both prevent episodes of low back pain and related absenteeism: systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) aimed at preventing back pain [with consumer summary]
Huang R, Ning J, Chuter VH, Taylor JB, Christophe D, Meng Z, Xu Y, Jiang L
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2020 Jul;54(13):766-770
systematic review

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to investigate which prevention strategies for low back pain (LBP) are most effective. DESIGN: We completed a Bayesian network meta-analysis to summarise the comparative effectiveness of LBP prevention strategies. The primary outcomes were an episode of LBP and LBP-associated work absenteeism represented as ORs with associated 95% credibility intervals (CrIs). We ranked all prevention strategies with surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA) analysis. DATA SOURCES: PubMed, Embase and CENTRAL databases were searched along with manual searches of retrieved articles. We only included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that reported an episode of LBP and/or LBP-associated work absenteeism evaluating LBP prevention strategies were included. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDIES: Data were independently extracted by two investigators, and RCT quality was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. RESULTS AND SUMMARY: Forty RCTs were included. Exercise combined with education (OR 0.59, CrI 0.41 to 0.82) and exercise alone (OR 0.59, CrI 0.36 to 0.92) both prevented LBP episodes; exercise combined with education and education alone both had large areas under the curve (SUCRA 81.3 and 79.4, respectively). Additionally, exercise (OR 0.04, CrI 0.00 to 0.34) prevented LBP-associated work absenteeism, with exercise and the combination of exercise and education ranking highest (SUCRA 99.0 and 60.2, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Exercise alone and exercise combined with education can prevent episodes of LBP and LBP-related absenteeism. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: PROSPERO 42017056884.
Reproduced with permission from the BMJ Publishing Group.

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