Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Back Pain Health Center

Font Size

Education and Counseling to Prevent Low Back Pain

Clinical Intervention

Although there is some evidence that exercise (flexion, extension, aerobic, or fitness) protects against the development of low back pain, the effect is modest and of unknown duration, and the interventions have not been demonstrated in typical clinical settings. Thus, there is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against counseling patients to exercise specifically to prevent low back pain ("C" recommendation). Recommendations for regular physical activity can be made on other grounds, including its proven efficacy in preventing coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. There is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against educational interventions or the use of mechanical supports in the prevention of low back pain ("C" recommendation). Given some evidence that mechanical supports may increase the risk of low back pain, recommendations can be made against their use except in the context of comprehensive programs where their use can be carefully monitored to avoid injury. There is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against risk factor modification specifically for the prevention of low back pain ("C" recommendation). Screening for obesity and counseling to prevent tobacco use are recommended based on proven benefits unrelated to low back pain.

Worksite screening and job placement practices are beyond the scope of this report (see NIOSH recommendations85-87).

Note: See the relevant background paper: Lahad A, Malter AD, Berg AO, et al. The effectiveness of four interventions for the prevention of low back pain. JAMA 1994;272:1286-1291. Copyright 1994, American Medical Association.

The draft of this chapter was prepared for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force by Ann S. O'Malley, MD, MPH, and Carolyn DiGuiseppi, MD, MPH, based on a background paper prepared by Amnon Lahad, MD, MPH, Alex D. Malter, MD, MPH, Alfred O. Berg, MD, MPH, and Richard A. Deyo, MD,


1. Liebenson CS. Pathogenesis of chronic back pain. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1992;15:299-308.

2. Frymoyer JW. Back pain and sciatica. N Engl J Med 1988;318:291-300.

3. Frymoyer JW. Can low back pain disability be prevented? Bailliere's Clin Rheumatol 1992;6:595-606.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

Today on WebMD

Woman holding lower back
Or is it another form of back pain?
Hand on back
See the myths vs. the facts.
Woman doing pilates
Good and bad exercises.
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Use it to manage your pain.
Man with enhanced spinal column, rear view
pain in brain and nerves
Chronic Pain Healtcheck
Health Check
break at desk
Woman holding lower back
Weight Loss Surgery
lumbar spine
back pain