Author(s): Cardon GM, De Clercq DL, De Bourdeaudhuij IM
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Abstract STUDY DESIGN: A control group-designed 1-year follow-up study involving 9 to 11-year-old schoolchildren who followed back education. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the efficacy of a back education program, consisting of six sessions of 1 hour each, in elementary school. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: In surveys among children and teenagers during the past few years, as many as half of all children in a community report a history of low back pain. Although several authors advocate the implementation of back education in elementary school, no guidelines exist and little is known about the efficacy of such a program. METHODS: A total of 198 children (subjected to back education) and 165 controls performed a practical test, evaluating the use of back care principles while sitting, taking off shoes, picking up a pen, and handling a load and a book bag. Post-tests were performed within 1 week after the intervention, after 3 months, and after 1 year. The week prevalence of back and neck pain was evaluated at these test moments in extended samples of intervention children (n = 347) and controls (n = 349). To evaluate habit changes, a limited group of intervention pupils (n = 38) and controls (n = 31) was additionally evaluated in a candid camera observation at the last post-test. RESULTS: At all post-tests intervention pupils scored significantly higher (P < 0.001) than controls for all practical test items. Candid camera evaluation scores were higher in the intervention group sample compared with the control group sample for four of the eight evaluated items. Following back education significantly decreased the week prevalence of back and neck pain. CONCLUSIONS: Back education in elementary schoolchildren is efficacious up to 1 year. The role of early back education in preventing back pain at the adult age merits further attention.
This article was published in Spine (Phila Pa 1976)
and referenced in Journal of Spine