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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1995 Oct;76(10):966-73.

Randomized controlled trials in industrial low back pain relating to return to work. Part 1. Acute interventions.

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  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, OH 45267-0530, USA.


Employers and insurers are interested in being able to use cost-effective interventions for returning injured workers to the workplace. Unfortunately, truly objective information is lacking. The purpose of this and two subsequent review articles was to perform thorough scrutiny and methodologic comparison among all obtainable, published randomized and controlled studies on low back pain (LBP) interventions leading to return to work. The study was confined to English language articles published from 1975 through 1993. Of more than 4,000 LBP citations, more than 500 were chosen for review. Of that number, 35 articles met the selection criteria of randomization, reasonable controls, and work return comparisons. This paper focuses on the 10 articles relating to interventions for acute (less than 4 weeks) LBP, and considers bed rest, exercise, spinal manipulation, back school, and case management. A 26-point quality system was used to compare the methodologic rigor of each article. This literature survey demonstrated the meager scientific foundations on which our industrial rehabilitation programs are based.

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