PURPOSE: Everyday activities are important factors for avoiding the development of chronic low back pain (LBP). The purpose this study was to explore LBP patients' perspective on long-term effects of participating in a counseling intervention designed to motivate them to change work routines and to exercise. METHOD: Follow-up qualitative study. Semi-structured interviews were made of 25 LBP patients who had received the counseling intervention. Interviews were transcribed and explored with an interpretative thematic analysis. The findings were organized around Kleinman's conception of "explanatory models". RESULTS: For the individual participant the beliefs about the illness were internally coherent, but most often they were idiosyncratic and fitted to the particular participants' overall explanatory model. Participation in the counseling intervention had created a sense of certainty and potential control over the disease and had legitimized their sick role at work and at home. The majority of the patients reported having integrated exercise into their explanatory models and understood exercise to be beneficial in their continual and concrete management of their LBP. CONCLUSIONS: The intervention had affected the patients' personal agency and space for action. We suggest that this effect was linked to the individually tailored approach drawing on both educational and motivational agents. Implications for Rehabilitation Maintaining everyday activities, including retaining one's occupation, is an important factor in low back pain rehabilitation. Counselling on low back pain rehabilitation must be aligned with people's beliefs about their illness. A counselling intervention made patients adopt exercising into their long-term management of low back pain.
Disability and Rehabilitation, 2014, Vol 37, Issue 11, p. 1-6