Little effect of transfer technique instruction and physical fitness training in reducing low back pain among nurses: a cluster randomised intervention study

Ergonomics. 2008 Oct;51(10):1530-48. doi: 10.1080/00140130802238606.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a transfer technique education programme (TT) alone or in combination with physical fitness training (TTPT) compared with a control group, who followed their usual routine. Eleven clinical hospital wards were cluster randomised to either intervention (six wards) or to control (five wards). The intervention cluster was individually randomised to TT (55 nurses) and TTPT (50 nurses), control (76 nurses). The transfer technique programme was a 4-d course of train-the-trainers to teach transfer technique to their colleagues. The physical training consisted of supervised physical fitness training 1 h twice per week for 8 weeks. Implementing transfer technique alone or in combination with physical fitness training among a hospital nursing staff did not, when compared to a control group, show any statistical differences according to self-reported low back pain (LBP), pain level, disability and sick leave at a 12-month follow-up. However, the individual randomised intervention subgroup (transfer technique/physical training) significantly improved the LBP-disability (p = 0.001). Although weakened by a high withdrawal rate, teaching transfer technique to nurses in a hospital setting needs to be thoroughly considered. Other priorities such as physical training may be taken into consideration. The current study supports the findings of other studies that introducing transfer technique alone has no effect in targeting LBP. However, physical training seems to have an influence in minimising the LBP consequences and may be important in the discussion of how to prevent LBP or the recurrence of LBP among nursing personnel.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Moving and Lifting Patients / methods*
  • Moving and Lifting Patients / nursing*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education*
  • Physical Education and Training