Open Access Study protocol

The PRESLO study: evaluation of a global secondary low back pain prevention program for health care personnel in a hospital setting. Multicenter, randomized intervention trial

Angélique Denis1*, Amélie Zelmar1*, Marie-Annick Le Pogam1, Emmanuelle Chaleat-Valayer2, Alain Bergeret34 and Cyrille Colin1

Author Affiliations

1 Pôle Information Médicale Evaluation Recherche clinique, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Lyon, France

2 Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Hôpital de jour du Centre Médico-Chirurgical de Réadaptation des Massues Croix Rouge Française, Rouge, France

3 Central Personnel Service for Occupational Medicine and Health Care, Centre Hospitalier Lyon Sud, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Lyon, France

4 University of Lyon 1, Lyon, France

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:234  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-234

Published: 27 November 2012



Common low back pain represents a major public health problem in terms of its direct cost to health care and its socio-economic repercussions. Ten percent of individuals who suffer from low back pain evolve toward a chronic case and as such are responsible for 75 to 80% of the direct cost of low back pain. It is therefore imperative to highlight the predictive factors of low back pain chronification in order to lighten the economic burden of low back pain-related invalidity. Despite being particularly affected by low back pain, Hospices Civils de Lyon (HCL) personnel have never been offered a specific, tailor-made treatment plan. The PRESLO study (with PRESLO referring to Secondary Low Back Pain Prevention, or in French, PREvention Secondaire de la LOmbalgie), proposed by HCL occupational health services and the Centre Médico-Chirurgical et de Réadaptation des Massues – Croix Rouge Française, is a randomized trial that aims to evaluate the feasibility and efficiency of a global secondary low back pain prevention program for the low back pain sufferers among HCL hospital personnel, a population at risk for recurrence and chronification. This program, which is based on the concept of physical retraining, employs a multidisciplinary approach uniting physical activity, cognitive education about low back pain and lumbopelvic morphotype analysis. No study targeting populations at risk for low back pain chronification has as yet evaluated the efficiency of lighter secondary prevention programs.


This study is a two-arm parallel randomized controlled trial proposed to all low back pain sufferers among HCL workers, included between October 2008 and July 2011 and followed over two years. The personnel following their usual treatment (control group) and those following the global prevention program in addition to their usual treatment (intervention group) are compared in terms of low back pain recurrence and the impairments measured at the beginning and the end of the study. The global prevention program is composed of a two-hour information session about low back pain and pain pathways, followed by five weekly 90-min exercise sessions with one physiotherapist per group of eight to ten personnel. A booklet for home use with patient-managed exercise instructions and information (The Back Book) is given to each participant at the end of the program.

An X-ray assessment of the entire spinal column of each participant (in both the control and intervention groups) is performed at the onset of the study in order to analyze sagittal spinopelvic balance as well as lombopelvic morphotype.


The results of this study, which is innovative and unique in France, will be available in 2014 and will make it possible to draw conclusions regarding the program’s impact on the risk of recurrence and chronification of low back pain.

Trial registration webcite # NCT00782925