Intended for healthcare professionals


Population based intervention to change back pain beliefs: three year follow up population survey

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 05 February 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:321
  1. Rachelle Buchbinder, director (⇑,
  2. Damien Jolley, associate professor in epidemiology and biostatistics2
  1. 1Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Cabrini Hospital and Monash University Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Suite 41, Cabrini Medical Centre, 183 Wattletree Road, Malvern, VIC 3144, Australia
  2. 2School of Health Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia
  1. Correspondence to: R Buchbinder
  • Accepted 4 August 2003


We previously reported the positive results of a population based campaign designed to alter beliefs about back pain in Victoria, Australia.1 2 The campaign consisted of television commercials which gave clear advice about back pain—for example, stay active and exercise, do not rest for prolonged periods, and stay at work. After the intervention, doctors' and the community's beliefs about back pain became significantly more positive, and the number of workers' claims for compensation and medical payments for back pain had declined. To measure sustained change in beliefs about back pain three years after the campaign ended, we repeated telephone surveys in Victoria and in adjacent New South Wales as a control.

Participants, methods, and results

We used computer assisted questionnaires given by telephone interview to a random sample of the population of Victoria and New South Wales in December …

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