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Specifically, exercise and education reduced the risk of a low back pain episode by 45 percent, and exercise alone reduced the risk of a low back pain episode by 35 percent and the risk of time off work due to back pain by 78 percent.
The benefits of exercise and education were reduced after one year, while the benefits of exercise alone disappeared after one year.
"This finding raises the important issue that, for exercise to remain protective against future (low back pain), it is likely that ongoing exercise is required," Daniel Steffens, University of Sydney, Australia, and co-authors wrote.
They found no evidence that education alone, back belts or shoe inserts lowered the risk of back pain.
The study was published online Jan. 11 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
-- Robert Preidt
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