Education Program in Primary Care Can Help Low Back Pain

Intervention leads to small improvements in disability, pain in patients with low back pain
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with low back pain in the primary care setting, the addition of a brief education program on active management to usual care can lead to small improvements in pain, disability, and other measures, according to research published in the March 1 issue of Spine.

Celia Albaladejo, M.D., of the Regional Health Authority of Castilla-León in Valladolid, Spain, and colleagues analyzed data from 348 individuals with low back pain, mostly chronic. All received usual care, and those in a control group received a nutrition booklet and a 15-minute group talk; those in the education group were given a "back book" promoting active management and a 15-minute group talk; and those in the education and physiotherapy group received the education program plus a booklet and 15-minute talk on postural hygiene, and group physiotherapy sessions.

At six months, the researchers found that the control group had negligible improvement. The other groups had additional improvement in disability, low back pain, referred pain, and physical and mental quality of life.

"A short education program (composed of the handing out of the 'Back Book' and a consistent 15-minute group talk) on active management, which is feasible in primary care, leads to small but consistent improvements in disability, pain and quality of life. The addition of a short education program on postural hygiene and a short physiotherapy program intended to be continued at home increases those effects, but the magnitude of that increase is clinically irrelevant," the authors conclude.

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