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.