European Spine Journal

, Volume 13, Issue 8, pp 663–679 | Cite as

Low back pain prevention’s effects in schoolchildren. What is the evidence?

  • Greet Cardon
  • F. Balagué


Given the high prevalence rates of back pain, as early as in childhood, there has been a call for early preventive interventions. To determine which interventions are used to prevent back problems in school-children, as well as what the evidence is for their utility, the literature was searched to locate all investigations that used subjects under the age of 18 and not seeking treatment. Included investigations were specifically designed as an intervention for low back pain (LBP) prevention. Additionally, a literature search was performed for modifiable risk factors for LBP in schoolchildren. The literature-update search was performed within the scope of the “COST Action B13” of the European Commission, approved for the development of European guidelines for the management of LBP. It was concluded that intervention studies in school-children focusing on back-pain prevention are promising but too limited to formulate evidence-based guidelines. On the other hand, since the literature shows that back-pain reports about schoolchildren are mainly associated with psychosocial factors, the scope for LBP prevention in schoolchildren may be limited. However, schoolchildren are receptive to back-care-related knowledge and postural habits, which may play a preventive role for back pain in adulthood. Further studies with a follow-up into adulthood are needed to evaluate the long-term effect of early interventions and the possible detrimental effect of spinal loading at young age.


Non-specific low back pain Prevention Risk factors Schoolchildren 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Movement and Sports SciencesGhent UniversityGentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Rheumatology, Physical Medicine and RehabilitationHopital CantonalFribourgSwitzerland

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