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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Jul 18;(3):CD005958.

Manual material handling advice and assistive devices for preventing and treating back pain in workers.

Author information

1
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, Helsinki, Finland, 00250. kari-pekka.martimo@ttl.fi

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Training and assistive devices are considered major interventions to prevent back pain among workers exposed to manual material handling (MMH).

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the effectiveness of MMH advice and training and the provision of assistive devices in preventing and treating back pain.

SEARCH STRATEGY:

We searched MEDLINE to November 2005, EMBASE to August 2005, and CENTRAL, the Back Group's Trials Register, CINAHL, Nioshtic, CISdoc, Science Citation Index, and PsychLIT to September 2005.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included randomized controlled trials (RCT) and cohort studies with a concurrent control group, aimed at changing human behaviour in MMH and measuring back pain, back pain-related disability or sickness absence.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two authors independently extracted the data and assessed the methodological quality using the criteria recommended by the Back Review Group for RCTs and MINORS for the cohort studies. One author of an original study supplied additional data for the review. The results and conclusions are based on the primary analysis of RCTs. We conducted a secondary analysis with cohort studies. We compared and contrasted the conclusions from the primary and secondary analyses.

MAIN RESULTS:

We included six RCTs (17,720 employees) and five cohort studies (772 employees). All studies focused on prevention of back pain. Two RCTs and all cohort studies met the majority of the quality criteria and were labeled high quality. We summarized the strength of the evidence with a qualitative analysis since the lack of data precluded a statistical analysis. There is moderate evidence that MMH advice and training are no more effective at preventing back pain or back pain-related disability than no intervention (four studies) or minor advice (one study). There is limited evidence that MMH advice and training are no more effective than physical exercise or back belt use in preventing back pain (three studies), and that MMH advice plus assistive devices are not more effective than MMH advice alone (one study) or no intervention (one study) in preventing back pain or related disability. The results of the cohort studies were similar to the randomised studies.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

There is limited to moderate evidence that MMH advice and training with or without assistive devices do not prevent back pain, back pain-related disability or reduce sick leave when compared to no intervention or alternative interventions. There is no evidence available for the effectiveness of MMH advice and training or MMH assistive devices for treating back pain.

PMID:
17636814
DOI:
10.1002/14651858.CD005958.pub2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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