This study examined the effects of an acupoint-stimulating lumbar backrest on pain and disability in office workers who suffer from low back pain (LBP) as well as the preference influence on pain and disability. Sixty-four participants were assigned at random to one of two groups: one with no intervention (n=32) and another with 1 month of backrest use (n=32). An additional group (n=37) who wished to try 1 month of acupressure backrest were recruited to indicate the preference effect. Pain and disability were two key outcomes. Significant differences between control and randomized acupressure backrest groups were found at 2 week period for disability and at 4 weeks for pain after the backrest use. Also, significant differences were found in both groups for 3 month period with an increase of the treatment effect on pain and disability. Both control and randomized acupressure backrest groups exhibited greater improvement in pain and disability scores which were more than the minimal clinically important change (30% improvement for both outcomes). No significant difference was found for pain and disability between the randomized and preferred backrest groups.
These findings indicated 1-month of acupressure backrest use could improve LBP conditions. Preference was not a powerful moderator to the significant treatment effect.