Semilight Workout for Chronic Low Back Pain Equal to One-on-One CareStudies show that intense treatment for chronic low back pain (CLBP) helps improve function. It even lessens the pain somewhat. The next question is: how does a lighter workout compare with one-on-one with a physical therapist?
In this study 120 professional women with CLBP were divided into two treatment groups. Women in both groups had back pain with or without leg pain every day or almost every day for a year. The first group had 70 hours of group rehab including physical training, relaxation training, and back school. A home program of exercise was included. They also had some stress management.
The second group received 10 hours of physical therapy. Physical exercise and hands on treatment were given to each woman in the group one at a time. Everyone in both groups was followed for up to two years.
Measures used to gauge success of each program included pain level and number of sick days taken for back pain. They also kept track of the number of visits to a doctor or other health care specialist. Symptoms of depression and general well-being were recorded.
The authors report no difference between the two groups after rehab. The women in both groups had the same amount of pain relief and improved function. The sense of general well-being was slightly better in the intense rehab group. This group also had fewer visits to the doctor, nurse, or physical therapist.
High-intensity rehab programs can be costly. The results of this study show that a semi-light workout conducted in groups costs less and is still as effective. This was true even when compared to one-on-one treatment with a physical therapist. The authors say the next step is to identify which patients really need the more intensive treatment.
Eeva Helena KÃ¤Ã¤pÃ¤, MD, PhD, et al. Multidisciplinary Group Rehabilitation Versus Individual Physiotherapy for Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain. In Spine. February 15, 2006. Vol. 31. No. 4. Pp. 371-376.
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