Skill training preferences and technology use in persons with neck and low back pain

J. Verbrugghe, M. Haesen, R. Spierings, K. Willems, G. Claes, E. Olivieri, K. Coninx, A. Timmermans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Neck pain (NP) and low back pain (LBP) are highly prevalent. Exercise therapy helps, but effect sizes and therapy compliance remain low. Client-centred therapy and technology use may play a role to improve therapy outcomes. To offer technology supported rehabilitation matching patient’s goals, training preferences for rehabilitation and technology familiarity need to be known. Purpose: This study aims to (1) inventory training preferences and motives, (2) evaluate whether these change during rehabilitation, and (3) evaluate familiarity with using technologies, in persons with NP/LBP. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with regard to training preferences and usage of mainstream technological devices. Results: Persons with NP (n = 40) preferred to train on “lifting”, “prolonged sitting” and “driving a car”. Persons with LBP (n = 40) preferred to train on “household activities”, “lifting” and “prolonged walking”. Motives were predominantly “ability to work” and “ability to do free time occupations”. Preferences shifted in ranking but remained the same during rehabilitation. Participants were familiar with the surveyed technologies. Conclusion: Persons with NP or LBP prefer to train on exercises supporting the improvement of everyday life skills. They use technologies in their professional and personal life, which may lower the threshold for the adoption of rehabilitation technologies.Implications for rehabilitation Persons with neck pain (NP) and persons with low back pain (LBP) prefer to train on specific activities that limit their functional ability during daily tasks. The underlying motives linked to preferred training activities are predominantly “being able to work” and “being able to perform free time occupations”. Persons with NP and persons with LBP are accustomed to the use of mainstream technologies and the integration of these technologies in rehabilitation settings seems feasible. In order to enable technology supported rehabilitation that is client-centred, technologies need to offer an extensive number of exercises that support (components of) patient training preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-807
Number of pages7
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Low back pain
  • neck pain
  • training preferences
  • technology use
  • clientcentred care
  • client-centred care
  • Smartphone/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance/psychology
  • Motivation
  • Adult
  • Cell Phone/statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Exercise Therapy/methods
  • Low Back Pain/rehabilitation
  • Patient Preference/psychology
  • Neck Pain/rehabilitation


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