The influence of prophylactic orthoses on abdominal strength and low back injury in the workplace

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1990 Oct;69(5):245-50. doi: 10.1097/00002060-199010000-00004.


This study was designed to determine the effect of multimodal intervention and the prevention of back injury, and to evaluate the adverse side effects of using a lumbosacral corset in the workplace. Subjects were 90 male warehouse workers randomly selected from over 800 employees at a grocery distribution center. Subjects were assigned to three groups: true controls, no back school, no brace orthoses; back school only; and back school plus wearing a custom molded lumbosacral orthosis. Comparisons of pre-testing and 6-month follow-up post-testing for abdominal strength, cognitive data, work injury incidence and productivity and use of health care services were evaluated. Controls and training-only group showed no changes in strength productivity or lost time. Orthoses and training-group showed no changes in strength productivity or accident rate; however, they showed substantially less lost time. This study supports the concept of using education and prophylactic bracing to prevent back injury and reduce time loss. It appears that the use of intermittent prophylactic bracing has no adverse affects on abdominal muscle strength and may contribute to decreased lost time from work injuries.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen*
  • Adult
  • Back Pain / prevention & control*
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Orthotic Devices*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Random Allocation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires