Reducing sedentary behaviour to decrease chronic low back pain: the stand back randomised trial.

The Stand Back study evaluated the feasibility and effects of a multicomponent intervention targeting reduced prolonged sitting and pain self-management in desk workers with chronic low back pain (LBP).

This randomised controlled trial recruited 27 individuals with chronic LBP, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) >10% and desk jobs (sitting ≥20 hours/week). Participants were randomised within strata of ODI (>10%-<20%, ≥20%) to receive bimonthly behavioural counselling (in-person and telephone), a sit-stand desk attachment, a wrist-worn activity-prompting device and cognitive behavioural therapy for LBP self-management or control. Self-reported work sitting time, visual analogue scales (VAS) for LBP and the ODI were assessed by monthly, online questionnaires and compared across intervention groups using linear mixed models.

Baseline mean (SD) age was 52 (11) years, 78% were women, and ODI was 24.1 (10.5)%. Across the 6-month follow-up in models adjusted for baseline value, work sitting time was 1.5 hour/day (P<0.001) lower comparing intervention to controls. Also across follow-up, ODI was on average 8 points lower in intervention versus control (P=0.001). At 6 months, the relative decrease in ODI from baseline was 50% in intervention and 14% in control (P=0.042). LBP from VAS was not significantly reduced in intervention versus control, though small-to-moderate effect sizes favouring the intervention were observed (Cohen’s d ranged from 0.22 to 0.42).

An intervention coupling behavioural counselling targeting reduced sedentary behaviour and pain self-management is a translatable treatment strategy that shows promise for treating chronic LBP in desk-bound employees.