(HealthDay News) – Combining a disability evaluation with proactive counseling for workers with low back pain (LBP) results in a higher return-to-work rate, which is statistically significant at one year, according to a study published online Feb. 16 in Spine.

Marc G. Du Bois, MD, and Peter Donceel, MD, PhD, from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, evaluated 509 claimants with non-specific LBP randomly assigned to a disability evaluation (control group) or a disability evaluation with added counseling (intervention group). The impact of information and advice was assessed on the return-to-work rate, recurrence of sick leave, duration of sick leave, and subsequent surgery.

The researchers found that patients who were provided with advice and information had a higher return-to-work rate, which was significant at one year. This was primarily attributed to a lower relapse rate in the intervention versus control group (38% vs. 60%). There were no differences between the two groups regarding subsequent surgery for LBP and duration of sick leave.

“A rehabilitation oriented approach resulted in [fewer] recurrent sickness absences over natural recovery alone for LBP claimants,” the authors write.


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