Project: Preference for physical activity in managing Low Back Pain

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Low back pain (LBP) is a prevalent public health condition. One of the conventional preventive strategies for spinal pain especially the low back has been exercise interventions. Physical activity has shown to minimize and eliminate risks of disability from LBP as well as maintain and promote employee’s work ability. It has been shown that important clinical outcomes such as reduced pain and back function in patients have been enhanced if patients are offered their preferred treatment option in regard to exercise interventions [Tillbrook et al. 2008]. However, fewer studies have investigated the composition of exercise interventions offered and how it would affect participation, adherence and outcomes. Therefore, there is reason to investigate which characteristics of physical activity or exercise interventions that are valued by employees with LBP.


The current study elicits employee preferences for exercise interventions to manage LBP. We examine the effects characteristics of an exercise intervention could have on the decision to choose one physical activity or the other by employees with non-specific LBP.


Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) technique that is an attribute-based measure of utility is used in the study. We thus assume that exercise interventions could be described by certain properties, and that an individual's valuation of the intervention depends on the attributes of the intervention. The attributes of a particular exercise intervention is given by characteristics such as type of training, design of training, intensity, frequency, location etc. A web-based survey will be used for collecting data on socio-demographic characteristics, work environment and health status as well as the choice tasks. In the choice task, respondents will be shown ten pair of hypothetical exercise interventions and asked to choose the option they preferred.

Expected results

The results would guide new ways of developing workplace interventions that involve physical activity based on the preferences of employees with LBP. This could enhance the adoption of, satisfaction with, and adherence to the physical activity interventions in the workplace.


PhD student

Emmanuel Aboagye

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 832 39
Organizational unit: Intervention and implementation research


Irene Jensen

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 832 12
Organizational unit: Intervention and implementation research

Health economicsPhysical activityPrevention