Effects of a 12-week workplace counseling program on physical activity and low back pain: A pilot randomized controlled study

J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2021;34(5):845-852. doi: 10.3233/BMR-200178.


Background: Physical activity (PA) is essential in the management and rehabilitation of low back pain (LBP). However, it is not clear that PA interventions in the workplace can improve LBP.

Objective: This study aimed to investigate the effects of workplace counseling on PA and LBP among workers.

Methods: We recruited 37 people with 12 weeks of LBP who worked in a manufacturing company in Aichi, Japan. Participants were randomly assigned to the intervention (n= 20) or control group (n= 17). All participants of both groups were affixed with waist-worn accelerometers to monitor PA. The intervention group also received a program of face-to-face counseling with a physical therapist or nurse once a week for 12 weeks to reassure and encourage participants to maintain a high level of PA. PA and LBP severity were assessed at baseline, 3 and 6 months.

Results: PA was significantly higher in the intervention group than in the control group at 3 and 6 months. In the intervention group, PA significantly increased at 3 and 6 months from baseline, and LBP severity at 6 months improved significantly from baseline.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that workplace PA intervention can increase PA and improve LBP among workers.

Keywords: Workplace intervention; physical activity counseling; workers.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Counseling
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain* / therapy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Workplace