Does exercise improve low back pain and function in agricultural workers? Original paper

In this randomized controlled trial, a supervised program of strength and flexibility exercises was no more effective than an informational booklet on home stretching for improving low back pain and physical function in fruit workers with chronic low back pain.

This Study Summary was published on February 2, 2024.

Quick Summary

In this randomized controlled trial, a supervised program of strength and flexibility exercises was no more effective than an informational booklet on home stretching for improving low back pain and physical function in fruit workers with chronic low back pain.

What was studied?

The effect of a physical exercise program on the severity of chronic low back pain (assessed using an 11-point numeric pain scale) and perceived disability (assessed using the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire) in the context of agricultural work.

The secondary outcomes were the severity of kinesiophobia (an irrational fear of physical movement) and perceived overall effects.

Who was studied?

A total of 44 fruit workers (average age of 37; 32 women, 12 men) with chronic nonspecific low back pain/discomfort for a minimum of 3 months.

How was it studied?

An 8-week randomized controlled trial was conducted, in which the participants either performed a supervised program of strength and flexibility exercises twice per week for 20 to 28 minutes or received a booklet with guidelines for performing exercises at home twice per week.

The training program for the intervention group involved: (i) stretching of the upper trapezius, pectoralis major, and erector spinae muscles, followed by stationary running; (ii) strengthening exercises for the major muscle groups of the upper and lower body; and (iii) isometric strengthening exercises for core stabilization. The booklet for the control group proposed stretching exercises for most major muscle groups of the upper body.

What were the results?

Pain severity and perceived disability improved in both groups from baseline to week 8. However, there were no differences between groups in any of the outcomes.

This Study Summary was published on February 2, 2024.