Feasibility of lumbar supports for home care workers with low back pain

Occup Med (Lond). 2002 Sep;52(6):317-23. doi: 10.1093/occmed/52.6.317.


The aims of this study were to assess the compliance of home care workers with low back pain (LBP) in using a lumbar support, to establish the benefit experienced from the support, and to determine the predictive factors for that compliance and benefit. Only home care workers who had LBP at the start of the study or who had experienced at least two episodes of LBP in the 12 months prior to the study could apply for participation. The study consisted of two phases. In phase I (the first week of the study), workers used the lumbar support each working day. In phase II (the following 6 months), subjects were instructed to use the lumbar support only on those working days when they experienced LBP. Weekly questionnaires were used to measure compliance; monthly questionnaires were used to measure the benefit experienced. Fifty-nine workers participated in the study. Overall, they scored their perceived benefit from the lumbar support as 7 on a scale of 0-10, and 61-81% of the workers were compliant. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that the best predictor for experienced benefit is the degree of confidence in expected pain reduction due to the lumbar support, measured after phase I (R(2) = 0.70). Multiple logistic analysis showed that the best predictor for compliance is the extent to which subjects consider they can influence their own health status (R(2) = 0.49). Because both the benefit experienced and the compliance rate were substantial, the use of lumbar supports by home care workers with LBP seems feasible. However, we cannot recommend extensive use of lumbar supports in home care workers with LBP based solely on the results of the present study. First, there is a clear need for a randomized clinical trial on this topic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Braces / statistics & numerical data*
  • Caregivers
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Prospective Studies