The effectiveness of ergonomic interventions on return-to-work after low back pain; a prospective two year cohort study in six countries on low back pain patients sicklisted for 3–4 months

Anema, J. R., Cuelenaere, B., van der Beek, A. J., Knol, D. L., de Vet, H. C. W. and van Mechelen, W. (2004) The effectiveness of ergonomic interventions on return-to-work after low back pain; a prospective two year cohort study in six countries on low back pain patients sicklisted for 3–4 months. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 61 4: 289-294. doi:10.1136/oem.2002.006460


Author Anema, J. R.
Cuelenaere, B.
van der Beek, A. J.
Knol, D. L.
de Vet, H. C. W.
van Mechelen, W.
Title The effectiveness of ergonomic interventions on return-to-work after low back pain; a prospective two year cohort study in six countries on low back pain patients sicklisted for 3–4 months
Journal name Occupational and Environmental Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1351-0711
1470-7926
Publication date 2004-04-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1136/oem.2002.006460
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 61
Issue 4
Start page 289
End page 294
Total pages 6
Editor Dana Loomis
Place of publication London
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Language eng
Subject 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Formatted abstract
Aims: To study occurrence and effectiveness of ergonomic interventions on return-to-work applied for workers with low back pain (LBP).

Methods: A multinational cohort of 1631 workers fully sicklisted 3–4 months due to LBP (ICD-9 codes 721, 722, 724) was recruited from sickness benefit claimants databases in Denmark, Germany, Israel, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United States. Medical, ergonomic, and other interventions, working status, and return-to-work were measured using questionnaires and interviews at three months, one and two years after the start of sickleave. Main outcome measure was time to return-to-work. Cox’s proportional hazards model was used to calculate hazard ratios regarding the time to return-to-work, adjusted for prognostic factors.

Results: Ergonomic interventions varied considerably in occurrence between the national cohorts: 23.4% (mean) of the participants reported adaptation of the workplace, ranging from 15.0% to 30.5%. Adaptation of job tasks and adaptation of working hours was applied for 44.8% (range 41.0–59.2%) and 46.0% (range 19.9–62.9%) of the participants, respectively. Adaptation of the workplace was effective on return-to-work rate with an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 1.47 (95% CI 1.25 to 1.72; p < 0.0001). Adaptation of job tasks and adaptation of working hours were effective on return-to-work after a period of more than 200 days of sickleave with an adjusted HR of 1.78 (95% CI 1.42 to 2.23; p < 0.0001) and 1.41 (95% CI 1.13 to 1.76; p = 0.002), respectively.

Conclusions: Results suggest that ergonomic interventions are effective on return-to-work of workers long term sicklisted due to LBP.
Keyword back pain
disability management
ergonomics
multinational cohort study
return to work
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
 
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