Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2021;47(5):367-376    pdf full text

doi:10.5271/sjweh.3959

Effectiveness of training in guideline-oriented biopsychosocial management of low-back pain in occupational health services – a cluster randomized controlled trial

by Ryynänen K, Oura P, Simula A-S, Holopainen R, Paukkunen M, Lausmaa M, Remes J, Booth N, Malmivaara A, Karppinen J

Objective This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of brief training in the guideline-oriented biopsychosocial management of low-back pain (LBP) in occupational health services using a cluster-randomized design. A small sample of physiotherapists and physicians from the intervention units (N=12) were given three- to seven-day training focusing on the biopsychosocial management of LBP, while professionals in the control units (N=15) received no such training.

Methods Eligible patients with LBP, with or without radicular pain, aged 18–65, were invited to participate. A web-based questionnaire was sent to all recruited patients at baseline, three months and one year. The primary outcome measure was disability (Oswestry Disability Index, ODI) over one year. Between-group differences were analyzed using linear and generalized linear mixed models adjusted for baseline-response delay as well as variables showing between-group imbalance at baseline.

Results The final study sample comprised 234 and 81 patients in the intervention and control groups, respectively at baseline, and 137 and 47 patients, respectively, at one year. At baseline, the mean duration of pain was longer in the intervention group (P=0.017), and pain-related fear concerning physical activity was lower (P=0.012). We observed no significant difference between the groups’ primary outcome measure (adjusted one-year mean difference in the ODI: 2.3; 95% confidence interval -1.0–5.7; P=0.175) or most secondary outcomes.

Conclusions Brief training in guideline-oriented biopsychosocial management of LBP for occupational health professionals did not appear to be effective in reducing patients’ symptom over one-year follow-up compared to treatment as usual.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2014;40(2):156-166  2012;38(2):134-143
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