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Group therapy ‘effective for back pain’

Group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is effective in reducing back pain-related disability in the long term, say UK researchers.

The study showed that the effects of group CBT are maintained for up to 50 months and followed up on a 2010 study which found that group CBT along with best practice advice in primary care effectively reduces lower back pain and disability over a 12 months, when compared with best practice advice alone.

Participants of the original study were sent a questionnaire, to which 395 responded (56% of the original cohort). The time of extended follow-up ranged from 20 to 50 months, with an average of 34 months.

Participants in the CBT group showed better recovery than the best practice advice group, with a mean difference between groups of 1.3 Roland and Morris disability questionnaire points and 5.5 modified von Korff Scale disability points.

There was no statistically significant difference in modified von Korff Scale pain outcomes between groups, suggesting that while pain improves in the long-term in response to best practice advice, long-term disability improves more with group CBT.

Study lead Professor Sarah Lamb, director of the Warwick Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Warwick and professor of trauma rehabilitation at the University of Oxford said that the results were encouraging, and ‘provide further support for the adoption of cognitive behavioural intervention in to clinical practice.'

Pain 2012, published online 8 January


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