How effective is physical conditioning as part of a return-to-work strategy in reducing time lost from work and improving work status for workers with back pain?
The quality of the evidence ranged from very low to moderate. Although 16 of the included studies were well designed and had no major flaws, some studies were poorly conducted, and the small number of participants in most studies lowered the overall quality of the evidence.
Physical conditioning, as part of a return-to-work strategy, aims to improve work status for workers on sick leave due to back pain. The exercises or tasks are structured and progressively graded to increase psychological, physical and emotional tolerance and to improve endurance and work feasibility. In such environments, injured workers improve their general physical condition through an exercise programme aimed at increasing strength, endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness.