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Open Access Study protocol

Efficacy of ‘Tailored Physical Activity’ or ‘Chronic Pain Self-Management Program’ on return to work for sick-listed citizens: design of a randomised controlled trial

Lotte Nygaard Andersen1*, Birgit Juul-Kristensen1, Kirsten Kaya Roessler2, Lene Gram Herborg3, Thomas Lund Sørensen4 and Karen Søgaard1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

2 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

3 Senior Citizen and Health Department, Social and Health Affairs, Municipality of Sonderborg, Sonderborg, Denmark

4 Regional Hospital, Avannaa, Ilulissat, Greenland, Denmark

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:66  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-66

Published: 23 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Pain affects quality of life and can result in absence from work. Treatment and/or prevention strategies for musculoskeletal pain-related long-term sick leave are currently undertaken in several health sectors. Moreover, there are few evidence-based guidelines for such treatment and prevention. The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of ‘Tailored Physical Activity’ or ‘Chronic Pain Self-Management Program’ for sick-listed citizens with pain in the back and/or the upper body.

Methods

This protocol describes the design of a parallel randomised controlled trial on the efficacy of ‘Tailored Physical Activity’ or a ‘Chronic Pain Self-management Program’ versus a reference group for sick-listed citizens with complaints of pain in the back or upper body. Participants will have been absent from work due to sick-listing for 3 to 9 weeks at the time of recruitment. All interventions will be performed at the ‘Health Care Center’ in the Sonderborg Municipality, and a minimum of 138 participants will be randomised into one of the three groups.

All participants will receive ‘Health Guidance’, a (1.5-hour) individualised dialogue focusing on improving ways of living, based on assessments of risk behavior, motivation for change, level of self-care and personal resources. In addition, the experimental groups will receive either ‘Tailored Physical Activity’ (three 50-minute sessions/week over 10 weeks) or ‘Chronic Pain Self-Management Program’ (2.5-hours per week over 6 weeks). The reference group will receive only ‘Health Guidance’.

The primary outcome is the participants’ sick-listed status at 3 and 12 months after baseline. The co-primary outcome is the time it takes to return to work. In addition, secondary outcomes include anthropometric measurements, functional capacity and self-reported number of sick days, musculoskeletal symptoms, general health, work ability, physical capacity, kinesiophobia, physical functional status, interpersonal problems and mental disorders.

Discussion

There are few evidence-based interventions for rehabilitation programmes assisting people with musculoskeletal pain-related work absence. This study will compare outcomes of interventions on return to work in order to increase the knowledge of evidence-based rehabilitation of sick-listed citizens to prevent long-term sick-leave and facilitate return to work.

Trial registration

The trial is registered in the ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01356784.

Keywords:
‘Tailored Physical Activity’; ‘Chronic Pain Self-Management Program’; ‘Return to work’; ‘Musculoskeletal disorders’; Pain