Article

Multidisciplinary intensive treatment for chronic low back pain: a randomized, prospective study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Americans with low back pain have been helped to return to work by multidisciplinary intensive treatment programs. Whether this treatment method will succeed in countries with a more generous social welfare system, where the incentive to return to work might be less, is not proven.

OBJECTIVES

To evaluate a Danish program of functional restoration combined with behavioral support.

METHODS

Patients who had experienced at least 6 months of disabling low back pain were randomly assigned to either a 3-week intensive treatment program (n = 55) or an untreated control group (n = 51).

RESULTS

Of the 106 patients randomized, 94 (89%) returned for a 4-month follow-up visit. At that time, 29 (64%) of the 45 treated patients were able to work, compared with 14 of 49 (29%) in the control group. The treated patients had used fewer days of sick leave (P < .02), had contacted health care professionals fewer times (P < .001), and had lower pain and disability scores.

CONCLUSIONS

Although such programs are expensive, they can reduce pension expenditures, sick leave days, health care contacts, and pain.


 

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