Does early intervention with a light mobilization program reduce long-term sick leave for low back pain?

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2000 Aug 1;25(15):1973-6. doi: 10.1097/00007632-200008010-00017.


Study design: A controlled randomized clinical trial was performed.

Objective: To investigate the effect of a light mobilization program on the duration of sick leave for patients with subacute low back pain.

Summary of background data: Early intervention with information, diagnostics, and light mobilization may be a cost-effective method for returning patients quickly to normal activity. In this experiment, patients were referred to a low back pain clinic and given this simple and systematic program as an outpatient treatment.

Methods: In this study, 457 patients sick-listed 8 to 12 weeks for low back pain, as recorded by the National Insurance Offices, were randomized into two groups: an intervention group (n = 237) and a control group (n = 220). The intervention group was examined at a spine clinic and given information and advice to stay active. The control group was not examined at the clinic, but was treated with conventional primary health care.

Results: At 12-month follow-up assessment, 68.4% in the intervention group had returned to full-duty work, as compared with 56.4% in the control group.

Conclusions: Early intervention with examination, information, and recommendations to stay active showed significant effects in reducing sick leave for patients with low back pain.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Lumbosacral Region / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Sick Leave*
  • Work Capacity Evaluation
  • Workers' Compensation