European Spine Journal

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 2467–2474 | Cite as

Long-term evaluation of a Canadian back pain mass media campaign

  • Arnela Suman
  • Geoffrey P. Bostick
  • Donald Schopflocher
  • Anthony S. Russell
  • Robert Ferrari
  • Michele C. Battié
  • Richard Hu
  • Rachelle Buchbinder
  • Douglas P. GrossEmail author
Original Article



This paper evaluates the long-term impact of a Canadian mass media campaign on general public beliefs about staying active when experiencing low back pain (LBP).


Changes in beliefs about staying active during an episode of LBP were studied using telephone and web-based surveys. Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate changes in beliefs over time and the effect of exposure to campaign messaging.


The percentage of survey respondents agreeing that they should stay active through LBP increased annually from 58.9 to ~72.0%. Respondents reporting exposure to campaign messaging were statistically significantly more likely to agree with staying active than respondents who did not report exposure to campaign messaging (adjusted OR, 95% CI = 1.96, 1.73–2.21).


The mass media campaign had continued impact on public LBP beliefs over the course of 7 years. Improvements over time were associated with exposure to campaign messaging.


Back pain Social marketing Mass media campaign Education Beliefs Attitudes 



Low back pain


Workers’ compensation board


Odds ratio


Confidence interval



The authors would like to thank the EMGO+ Institute for their funding support and the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta, Leger Marketing, and Advanis Inc. for provision of data.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


This study was supported by the EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research Travel Grant.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnela Suman
    • 1
  • Geoffrey P. Bostick
    • 2
  • Donald Schopflocher
    • 3
  • Anthony S. Russell
    • 4
  • Robert Ferrari
    • 5
  • Michele C. Battié
    • 2
  • Richard Hu
    • 6
  • Rachelle Buchbinder
    • 7
    • 8
  • Douglas P. Gross
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Public and Occupational HealthEMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical CentreAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Physical Therapy2-50 Corbett Hall, University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  4. 4.Division of RheumatologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  5. 5.Department of MedicineUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  6. 6.Division of Orthopedic Surgery, Department of SurgeryUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  7. 7.Monash Department of Clinical EpidemiologyCabrini InstituteMalvernAustralia
  8. 8.Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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