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Evidence Summary

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Physical activity-based interventions using electronic feedback may be ineffective in reducing pain and disability in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain

Oliveira CB, Franco MR, Maher CG, et al.  Physical activity-based interventions using electronic feedback may be ineffective for reducing pain and disability in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain: A systematic review with meta-analysis  Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation. 99(9): 1900-1912.

Review question

  • Are physical activity-based interventions that use electronic feedback effective in reducing chronic musculoskeletal pain and disability?

Background

  • People living with chronic musculoskeletal pain suffer from conditions that are difficult to manage, such as low back pain and osteoarthritis.
  • Currently, healthcare professionals suggest performing exercises and stretches, however it is difficult to promote an active lifestyle in the long term.¬†
  • A promising solution is physical activity-based interventions that use electronic feedback to promote an active lifestyle and reduce chronic musculoskeletal pain and disability.

How the review was done

  • A detailed search of a number of electronic databases for studies published up to mid-2017 was conducted. Studies that focused on physical activity interventions for patients with chronic muscle pain were included in the review.
  • A total of 5,272 studies were identified in the initial database search, and eight were included in the review.
  • The systematic review does not mention funding sources.

What the researchers found

  • Physical activity-based interventions seemed to be consistently ineffective across studies. Caution should be used when considering the findings as higher quality studies are needed to confirm conclusions.
  • Physical activities may not have long-term results as they are not designed to change patient behaviour toward an active lifestyle.
  • Providing feedback during and after interventions could help to promote healthy habits.

Conclusion

  • Evidence suggests that physical activity interventions that use feedback may not be effective in reducing chronic muscle pain. Caution should be used when considering the findings as further research with long-term follow-up is needed to confirm the conclusion.



Glossary

Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.

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DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

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