How to prevent low back pain

A. Kim Burton*, Federico Balagué, Greet Cardon, Hege R. Eriksen, Osmo Hänninen, Emma Harvey, Yves Henrotin, Aage Indahl, Amnon Lahad, Annette Leclerc, Gerd Müller, Allard van der Beek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


This chapter summarizes the European Guidelines for Prevention in Low Back Pain, which consider the evidence in respect of the general population, workers and children. There is limited scope for preventing the incidence (first-time onset) of back pain and, overall, there is limited robust evidence for numerous aspects of prevention in back pain. Nevertheless, there is evidence suggesting that prevention of various consequences of back pain is feasible. However, for those interventions where there is acceptable evidence, the effect sizes are rather modest. The most promising approaches seem to involve physical activity/exercise and appropriate (biopsychosocial) education, at least for adults. Owing to its multidimensional nature, no single intervention is likely to be effective at preventing the overall problem of back pain, although there is likely to be benefit from getting all the players onside. However, innovative studies are required to better understand the mechanisms and delivery of prevention in low back pain.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)541-555
Number of pages15
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Back pain
  • Guidelines
  • Prevention


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