Abstract

A systematic review of the literature related to effective occupational therapy interventions in rehabilitation of individuals with work-related low back injuries and illnesses was carried out as part of the Evidence-Based Literature Review Project of the American Occupational Therapy Association. This review evaluated research on a broad range of occupational therapy–related intervention procedures and approaches. Findings from the review indicate that the evidence is insufficient to support or refute the effectiveness of exercise therapy and other conservative treatments for subacute and chronic low back injuries. The research reviewed strongly suggests that for interventions to be effective, occupational therapy practitioners should use a holistic, client-centered approach. The research supports the need for occupational therapy practitioners to consider multiple strategies for addressing clients’ needs. Specifically, interventions for individuals with low back injuries and illnesses should incorporate a biopsychosocial, client-centered approach that includes actively involving the client in the rehabilitation process at the beginning of the intervention process and addressing the client’s psychosocial needs in addition to his or her physical impairments. The implications for occupational therapy practice, research, and education are also discussed.

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