Burton, A. Kim (2005) How to prevent low back pain. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology, 19 (4). pp. 541-555. ISSN 1521-6942

This chapter summarizes the European Guidelines for Prevention in Low Back Pain, which consider the evidence in respect of the general population, workers and children. There is limited scope for preventing the incidence (first-time onset) of back pain and, overall, there is limited robust evidence for numerous aspects of prevention in back pain. Nevertheless, there is evidence suggesting that prevention of various consequences of back pain is feasible. However, for those interventions where there is acceptable evidence, the effect sizes are rather modest. The most promising approaches seem to involve physical activity/exercise and appropriate (biopsychosocial) education, at least for adults. Owing to its multidimensional nature, no single intervention is likely to be effective at preventing the overall problem of back pain, although there is likely to be benefit from getting all the players onside. However, innovative studies are required to better understand the mechanisms and delivery of prevention in low back pain.

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