Advice on Lifting Techniques Does Not Prevent Back Pain

Techniques either do not work or are not implemented, review finds

FRIDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Training people in correct techniques for lifting heavy objects has no impact on prevalence of back pain, according to a review of studies published Jan. 31 in BMJ Online First.

Kari-Pekka Martimo, M.D., of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues analyzed data from six randomized trials comprising 17,720 participants and five cohort studies with 772 participants, including eight studies on moving and lifting patients, and three on baggage handlers or postal workers.

Interventions to try and modify lifting techniques were similar across the studies, and controls in all the studies received no intervention, physical exercise or use of back belts. None of the studies showed an improvement in the primary outcomes of measurements for back pain, sick leave or disability.

In a related editorial, Niels Wedderkopp, M.D., Ph.D., of Funen Hospital in Ringe, Denmark and a colleague note that the results are disappointing but unsurprising. "Few pathological and anatomical labels…can be used to explain the etiology of back pain," they write. "This lack of diagnostic refinement may explain why most randomized controlled clinical trials of the treatment or prevention of back pain show relatively inconclusive results."

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