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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2012 September;48(3):371-8


language: English

Predictors of functional outcome in patients with chronic low back pain undergoing back school, individual physiotherapy or spinal manipulation

Cecchi F. 1, Negrini S. 2, 3, Pasquini G. 1, Paperini A. 1, Conti A. A. 3, Chiti M. 1, Zaina F. 4, Macchi C. 1, 5, Molino-Lova R. 1

1 Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Scientific Institute, Florence, Italy; 2 University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy; 3 Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Milan, Italy; 4 ISICO (Italian Scientific Spine Institute), Milan, Italy; 5 Department of Medical and Surgical Critical Care University of Florence, Florence, Italy


BACKGROUND: Recent studies on chronic low back pain (cLBP) rehabilitation suggest that predictors of treatment outcome may be differ according to the considered conservative treatment.
AIM: To identify predictors of response to back school (BS), individual physiotherapy (IP) or spinal manipulation (SM) for cLBP.
POPULATION: Outpatients with cLBP.
SETTING: Outpatient rehabilitation department.
DESIGN: Retrospective analysis from a randomized trial.
METHODS: Two hundred and ten patients with cLBP were randomly assigned to either BS, IP or SM; the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RM) was assessed before and after treatment: those who decreased their RM score <2.5 were considered non-responders. Baseline potential predictors of outcome included demographics, general and cLBP history, life satisfaction.
RESULTS: Of the 205 patients who completed treatment (140/205 women, age 58+14 years), non-responders were 72 (34.2%). SM showed the highest functional improvement and the lowest non-response rate. In a multivariable logistic regression, lower baseline RM score (OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.76-0.89, P<0.001) and received treatment (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.21-0.50, P<0.001) were independent predictors of non-response. Being in the lowest tertile of baseline RM score (<6) predicted non response to treatment for BS and IP, but not for SM (same risk for all tertiles).
CONCLUSION: In our patients with cLBP lower baseline pain-related disability predicted non-response to physiotherapy, but not to spinal manipulation.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: Our results suggest that, independent form other characteristics, patients with cLBP and low pain-related disability should first consider spinal manipulation as a conservative treatment.

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