Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

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Back Schools: How Much Does Your Back Really Learn?

Scientists haven't been able to find one treatment program that works best for back pain. Every now and then researchers review recent studies looking for any evidence to support one treatment method over another.

In this study, researchers at the Department of Public and Occupational Health in The Netherlands studied the results of back schools. Nineteen studies were included.

Over 3,500 patients with low back pain (LBP) participated in a back school. They ranged in ages from 18 to 70 years old. No known cause was found for the LBP.

Are back schools more effective than other treatments (or no treatment at all) for LBP? The authors report most of the studies reviewed were poorly done. Data reported couldn't be relied upon for a certain answer.

For now it looks like back schools given at the work site may reduce back pain and improve function more than other treatment. Other treatment such as exercise, manipulation, manual therapy, and advice don't give as good of results.

The authors say better studies are needed before the effects of back school are truly known.


M. W. Heymans, PT, PhD, et al. Back School for Nonspecific Low Back Pain. In Spine. October 1, 2005. Vol. 30. No. 19. Pp. 2153-2163.

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