Group Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for Low Back Pain among Primary Care Patients

According to a recent study published in PAIN, group cognitive behavioral intervention (CBI) is effective in reducing low back pain (LBI) and disability over a 12-month period. The results indicate that the effects of CBI are maintained for up to an average of 34 months.

Participants (701, ages 18 and older), recruited from primary care settings in England who were experiencing at least moderately troublesome lower back pain for at least six weeks, participated in a randomized control trial. They received either 10-15 minute sessions of best-practice advice from a trained health professional or a cognitive behavioral intervention (one-hour individual assessment and six 90-minutes sessions of group therapy.)  At 20-50 month follow ups, returning participants (395 participants) noted less disability and pain than the original sample. The effects of CBI are reported to reduce lower back pain and sustain reductions over a length of time ranging from an average of 34 months up to 50 months.  Improvements do occur when using best-practice advice, however they are slower and often less substantial, leading to minimal impact on disability. The sustainability of CBI may be attributed to the acquisition of skills needed to challenge negative thoughts and beliefs and become more physically active.

Lamb, S. E., Mistry, D., Lall, R., Hansen, Z., Evans, D., Withers, E. J., & Underwood, M. R. (February 01, 2012). Group cognitive behavioural interventions for low back pain in primary care: Extended follow-up of the Back Skills Training Trial (ISRCTN54717854). Pain, 153, 2, 494-501.

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