Background: Neck and low back pain are significant health problems due to their high prevalence among the general population. Educational intervention commonly aims to reduce the symptoms and risk for additional problems by increasing the participant's knowledge, which in turn will alter the person's behavior. The primary aim of this study was to review randomize controlled trials (RCTs) to gain insights into the effectiveness of education for the prevention and treatment of non-specific neck and low back pain.
Methods: Publications were systematically searched from 1982 to March 2015 in several databases. Relevant RCTs were retrieved and assessed for methodological quality. Meta-analysis was conducted to examine the effectiveness of education for the prevention and treatment of non-specific neck and low back pain. The overall quality of evidence was assessed using the GRADE system.
Results: Thirty-six RCTs (30 high-quality studies) were identified. A total of 15 RCTs, which compared education programs to no education program, were included for further analysis. All studies included investigated the effectiveness of education with intermediate- and long-term follow-ups. The results showed that education programs were not effective in preventing and treating neck pain as well as treating low back pain. Conflicting evidence was found for the effectiveness of education on prevention of low back pain.
Conclusions: Evidence suggests that education programs are not recommended in preventing or treating neck pain as well as treating low back pain, unless supplementary high-quality studies provide evidence to the contrary.
Keywords: Education; Musculoskeletal disorders; Spinal pain.
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