- For patients with low back pain (LBP) at risk of developing chronic LBP, addition of intensive patient education does not improve pain scores.
- Authors: guideline recommendations advising intensive patient education may have been premature.
Why this matters
- LBP is the world's leading cause of disability.
- Most care is guideline-discordant, and first-line treatment often fails.
- All major guidelines recommend patient education, but this has not been trialled.
- At 3 months, between-group difference in pain score change: −0.3 points (11-point scale; 95% CI, −1.0 to 0.3; P=.31).
- Education vs placebo groups:
- Recurrence within 12 months: OR, 0.44 (95% CI, 0.24-0.82);
- Pain attitudes: mean difference, –0.9 (95% CI, –1.2 to –0.5; P<.001>
- Randomized, multicenter, placebo-controlled, clinical Preventing Chronic Low Back Pain (PREVENT) Trial in Sydney, Australia.
- 202 participants were outpatients with LBP
- In addition to usual first-line care, they were randomly assigned to 2-hour sessions of patient education by physiotherapists vs active listening.
- Outcome: pain intensity at 3 months after pain onset.
- Funding: Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.
- Outcome might have differed with more sessions or if sessions had been delivered by primary providers.