AIM: The aim was to evaluate efficacy of "Tailored Physical Activity" (TPA) versus a reference group (REF) in reducing the number of self-reported days of sickness absence for health care workers in the Sonderborg Municipality.
METHODS: In this randomised controlled trial, all participants (n = 54) received health guidance for 1.5 h and were randomised to TPA or REF. The primary aim was to make a comparison of participants' self-reported sickness absence due to musculoskeletal troubles measured three months after baseline. Secondary outcomes included anthropometric, health-related and physical capacity measures.
RESULTS: A TPA intervention was not significantly more effective than REF in reducing sickness absence caused by musculoskeletal troubles. However, there were significant improvements for TPA participants compared to REF in reducing pain intensity from 47.9 mm to 21.8 mm (p < .01), increasing work ability from 7.3 to 8.1 (p = .04) and decreasing kinesiophobia from 26.7 to 22.5 (p < .01). A trend towards a significant improvement was seen for aerobic capacity while no effect of the intervention was found on productivity, BMI or grip strength.
CONCLUSION: This physical activity intervention is a promising initiative for health care workers since participants achieved a substantial effect on their experience of pain, on their work ability and on their fear of physical movement relating to pain. Moreover, a difference in aerobic capacity was apparent between the sample groups. TPA however, had no significant effect in reducing sickness absence days.