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      National Clinical Guidelines for non-surgical treatment of patients with recent onset low back pain or lumbar radiculopathy

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          Most cited references 66

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          A comparison of physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, and provision of an educational booklet for the treatment of patients with low back pain.

           R Deyo,  M Battie,  D Cherkin (1998)
          There are few data on the relative effectiveness and costs of treatments for low back pain. We randomly assigned 321 adults with low back pain that persisted for seven days after a primary care visit to the McKenzie method of physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, or a minimal intervention (provision of an educational booklet). Patients with sciatica were excluded. Physical therapy or chiropractic manipulation was provided for one month (the number of visits was determined by the practitioner but was limited to a maximum of nine); patients were followed for a total of two years. The bothersomeness of symptoms was measured on an 11-point scale, and the level of dysfunction was measured on the 24-point Roland Disability Scale. After adjustment for base-line differences, the chiropractic group had less severe symptoms than the booklet group at four weeks (P=0.02), and there was a trend toward less severe symptoms in the physical therapy group (P=0.06). However, these differences were small and not significant after transformations of the data to adjust for their non-normal distribution. Differences in the extent of dysfunction among the groups were small and approached significance only at one year, with greater dysfunction in the booklet group than in the other two groups (P=0.05). For all outcomes, there were no significant differences between the physical-therapy and chiropractic groups and no significant differences among the groups in the numbers of days of reduced activity or missed work or in recurrences of back pain. About 75 percent of the subjects in the therapy groups rated their care as very good or excellent, as compared with about 30 percent of the subjects in the booklet group (P<0.001). Over a two-year period, the mean costs of care were $437 for the physical-therapy group, $429 for the chiropractic group, and $153 for the booklet group. For patients with low back pain, the McKenzie method of physical therapy and chiropractic manipulation had similar effects and costs, and patients receiving these treatments had only marginally better outcomes than those receiving the minimal intervention of an educational booklet. Whether the limited benefits of these treatments are worth the additional costs is open to question.
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            The treatment of acute low back pain--bed rest, exercises, or ordinary activity?

            Bed rest and back-extension exercises are often prescribed for patients with acute low back pain, but the effectiveness of these two competing treatments remains controversial. We conducted a controlled trial among employees of the city of Helsinki, Finland, who presented to an occupational health care center with acute, nonspecific low back pain. The patients were randomly assigned to one of three treatments: bed rest for two days (67 patients), back-mobilizing exercises (52 patients), or the continuation of ordinary activities as tolerated (the control group; 67 patients). Outcomes and costs were assessed after 3 and 12 weeks. After 3 and 12 weeks, the patients in the control group had better recovery than those prescribed either bed rest or exercises. There were statistically significant differences favoring the control group in the duration of pain, pain intensity, lumbar flexion, ability to work as measured subjectively, the Oswestry back-disability index, and number of days absent from work. Recovery was slowest among the patients assigned to bed rest. The overall costs of care did not differ significantly among the three groups. Among patients with acute low back pain, continuing ordinary activities within the limits permitted by the pain leads to more rapid recovery than either bed rest or back-mobilizing exercises.
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              Identifying subgroups of patients with acute/subacute "nonspecific" low back pain: results of a randomized clinical trial.

              Randomized clinical trial. Compare outcomes of patients with low back pain receiving treatments matched or unmatched to their subgrouping based on initial clinical presentation. Patients with "nonspecific" low back pain are often viewed as a homogeneous group, equally likely to respond to any particular intervention. Others have proposed methods for subgrouping patients as a means for determining the treatment most likely to benefit patients with particular characteristics. Patients with low back pain of less than 90 days' duration referred to physical therapy were examined before treatment and classified into one of three subgroups based on the type of treatment believed most likely to benefit the patient (manipulation, stabilization exercise, or specific exercise). Patients were randomly assigned to receive manipulation, stabilization exercises, or specific exercise treatment during a 4-week treatment period. Disability was assessed in the short-term (4 weeks) and long-term (1 year) using the Oswestry. Comparisons were made between patients receiving treatment matched to their subgroup, versus those receiving unmatched treatment. A total of 123 patients participated (mean age, 37.7 +/- 10.7 years; 45% female). Patients receiving matched treatments experienced greater short- and long-term reductions in disability than those receiving unmatched treatments. After 4 weeks, the difference favoring the matched treatment group was 6.6 Oswestry points (95% CI, 0.70-12.5), and at long-term follow-up the difference was 8.3 points (95% CI, 2.5-14.1). Compliers-only analysis of long-term outcomes yielded a similar result. Nonspecific low back pain should not be viewed as a homogenous condition. Outcomes can be improved when subgrouping is used to guide treatment decision-making.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                European Spine Journal
                Eur Spine J
                Springer Nature
                0940-6719
                1432-0932
                April 2017
                :
                :
                Article
                10.1007/s00586-017-5099-2
                28429142

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