Study:Work-focused, hospital-based interventions produce similar results for people with neck, back pain

Norwegian researchers found a reduction in pain and disability scores for people in both work-focused and control interventions for people with neck and back pain, according to recently published results.

The study of 413 employed people ages 18 years to 60 years with back or neck pain who had completed a duration of sick leave for a period between 4 weeks and 12 months compared the effect of a short work-focused rehabilitation with that of a hospital-based, multidisciplinary control intervention. In addition to self-reported pain and disability, the study assessed whether changes in fear avoidance beliefs (FABs) were different among the groups.

Participants completed a comprehensive questionnaire before randomization and 4 months and 12 months after treatment. Compliance with treatment was defined as attendance for at least half of treatment sessions offered. All interventions took place at the neck and back clinics of participating hospitals, with emphasis in both programs placed on removing fear avoidance, restoring activity level and enhancing self-care and coping.

The researchers found pain and disability decreased in both the work-focused and multidisciplinary treatment groups, and no statistically significant differences were found between them. No differences were found in changes in FABs about work between the interventions, but improvement in FABs about work seemed to be an important predictor for positive outcome in both groups.


Marchand et al, BMC Musculoskelet Disor. 2015;doi:10.1186/s12891-015-0553-y.

Disclosure: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

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