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Exercises for prevention of recurrences of low-back pain
  1. Brian K L Choi1,
  2. Jos H Verbeek2,3,
  3. Wilson Wai-San Tam4,
  4. Johnny Y Jiang5
  1. 1Health Services Research and Evaluation Division, Ministry of Health, Singapore
  2. 2Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Kuopio, Finland
  3. 3Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  4. 4University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  5. 5Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
  1. Correspondence to Jos H Verbeek, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Knowledge Transfer Team, PO Box 93, Kuopio 70701, Finland; jos.verbeek{at}

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Back pain is a common disorder that has a tendency to recur. It is unclear if exercises, either as part of treatment or as a post-treatment programme, can reduce back pain recurrences. We therefore wanted to investigate the effectiveness of exercises for preventing new episodes of low-back pain or low back pain associated disability in a Cochrane Systematic Review.1


We searched CENTRAL (The Cochrane Library 2009, issue 3), MEDLINE, Embase and CINAHL up to July 2009.

Inclusion criteria were: participants who had previously experienced non-specific back pain, an intervention that consisted of exercises without additional specific treatment, and outcomes that measured recurrence of back pain or time to recurrence. Recurrence of back pain could be either measured as the number of participants who experienced at least one recurrence or as the number of recurrences per participant. We excluded studies on patients who had specific back pain, such as pain due to infections, metastatic diseases, neoplasm, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or fractures.

Interventions were divided into (1) post-treatment exercises if the exercises were started after treatment for back pain had ended and were specifically intended to prevent new episodes or (2) treatment interventions if they included exercises but only as part of the current treatment and were also intended to prevent recurrences. …

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  • Linked articles: 059881.

  • Competing interests Jos Verbeek is the coordinator of the Cochrane Occupational Health Field and receives his salary for this work.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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