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Multicomponent exercises to prevent and reduce back pain in elderly care nurses: a randomized controlled trial

Otto, Ann-Kathrin; Wollesen, Bettina

Background: Sports science is making an important contribution to health services research and supports the development of tailored interventions, e.g., in nursing settings. Working in elderly care is associated with a high prevalence of low back pain (LBP). Due to the diverse requirements and high strains, multicomponent programs are essential to address all relevant factors. This randomized controlled trial investigated the effects of a tailored ten-week ergonomics and twelve-week strength training on lifting behavior, strength endurance, LBP, functional impairment and adherence. Methods: n = 42 nurses were randomly assigned to the intervention (IG; n = 20) or control group (CG; n = 22). They were eligible for participation if they were active in residential care and if they provided written informed consent. Other employees were excluded. The data were collected at baseline, at ten weeks (after ergonomics training), at 22 weeks (after strength training), and at 34 weeks (follow-up). The analysis combined physical tests with questionnaires (Progressive Isoinertial Lifting Evaluation, PILE-Test; Biering-Sørensen-Test; Visual Analog Scale Pain, VAS; Oswestry Disability Index, ODI; self-developed questionnaire for adherence). Group differences were analyzed by Chi2-Tests, ANOVA, and Linear Mixed Models. Results: The IG showed an improved lifting performance (PILE-Test; 95% CI 1.378–7.810, p = .006) and a reduced LBP compared to the CG (VAS; 95% CI − 1.987 to 0.034, p = .043) after ergonomics training (PILE-Test, F(1,34) = 21.070, p < .001; VAS, F(1,34) = 5.021, p = .032). The results showed no differences concerning the Biering-Sørensen-Test and the ODI. Positive adherence rates were observed. Conclusions: This approach and the positive results are essential to derive specific recommendations for effective prevention. The study results can be completed in future research with additional strategies to reduce nurses’ burden further. Trial registration: The trial was registered at DRKS.de (DRKS00015249, registration date: 05/09/2018).
Published in: BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, 10.1186/s13102-022-00508-z, Springer Nature