Two counseling sessions with people who had lower back pain helped reduce the pain and improve physical activity, according to a study published online inOccupational and Environmental Medicine.

The study to assess the value of counseling by occupational physicians found sessions that included advice on how to meet workplace barriers as well as encouragement about physical activity had “a substantial effect” on patients.

The study’s authors said that counseling resulted in a reduction in bodily pain and improvement in physical function, and also significantly reduced the risk of the subject taking sick leave.

“Two secondary outcomes, Fear Avoidance Beliefs about physical activity and maximum oxygen uptake, supported compliance and adherence to the part of the intervention focusing on enhanced physical activity,” according to the report’s authors: Lone Donbæk Jensen, Thomas Maribo, Berit Schiøttz-Christensen, Finn Hjorth Madsen, Bigitte Gonge, Michael Christensen and Poul Frost.