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Effectiveness of a lumbopelvic monitor and feedback device to change postural behaviour: the ELF cluster randomised controlled trial


Objectives The aim of this clustered, randomised controlled trial was to assess the effectiveness of a lumbopelvic postural feedback device for changing postural behaviour in a group of healthcare workers. We hypothesised that workers exposed to auditory postural feedback would reduce the number of times forward bending posture is adopted at work.

Methods This was a participant and assessor blinded, randomised, sham-controlled trial with blocked cluster random allocation. We recruited healthcare workers from aged care institutions. Healthcare sites were randomly allocated to the feedback or sham group (SG). A postural monitoring and feedback device was used to monitor and record lumbopelvic forward bending posture, and provided audio feedback whenever the user sustained lumbopelvic forward bending posture that exceeded predefined thresholds. The primary outcome measure was postural behaviour (exceeding thresholds). We used a robust variant of repeated measures mixed-effect model for assessing within-group and between-group differences in postural behaviour.

Results We recruited 19 sites, and 130 healthcare workers participated. There were no within-group changes on the number of times postural threshold was exceeded at 1-week follow-up (feedback group: −0.7, 95% CI −2.61 to 0.72; SG −0.3, −1.65 to 0.98), and no differences (0.05, 95% CI −1.83 to 1.94) between SG and feedback group.

Conclusions Findings from this trial indicate that audio feedback provided by a postural monitor device did not reduce the number of times healthcare workers exceeded the postural threshold.

Trial registration number ACTRN12616000449437.

  • ergonomics
  • occupational health practice
  • back disorders
  • musculoskeletal
  • intervention studies

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