The objective of this review was to evaluate whether interventions aimed at increasing adherence to therapeutic exercise increase adherence greater than a contextually equivalent control among older adults with chronic low back pain and/or hip/knee osteoarthritis.
Of 3899 studies identified, nine studies (1045 participants) were eligible. Four studies, evaluating strategies that aimed to increase motivation or using behavioural graded exercise, reported significantly better exercise adherence (d=0.26-1.23). In contrast, behavioural counselling, action coping plans and/or audio/video exercise cues did not improve adherence significantly. Meta-analysis using a random effects model with the two studies evaluating booster sessions with a physiotherapist for people with osteoarthritis revealed a small to medium significant pooled effect in favour of booster sessions (standardised mean difference (SMD) 0.39, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.72, z=2.26, p=0.02, I2=35%).
Meta-analysis provides moderate-quality evidence that booster sessions with a physiotherapist assisted people with hip/knee osteoarthritis to better adhere to therapeutic exercise. Individual high-quality trials supported the use of motivational strategies in people with chronic low back pain and behavioural graded exercise in people with osteoarthritis to improve adherence to exercise.