[Multidisciplinary treatment program for chronic low back pain, part 1. Overview].

A multimodal treatment program is presented in cases of functional restoration for chronic low back pain. The study comprises four parts. Part I gives an overview of the different results of the study. Part II focuses on the medical and functional examination in comparison with persons who do not suffer from back pain. Part III describes psychosocial aspects (depression, complaints, ways of coping, disability) and psychotherapy. In part IV prognostic factors and their reliability for predicting treatment outcome (return to work, pain intensity, self-assessment of success by patients) are examined. In addition the relevant effects of the program on social and health care systems are also addressed.
The incidence of low back pain is continuously increasing, causing tremendous costs for the health insurance system. Therefore effective treatment methods are needed that take into account somatic, psychological and social factors. Chronic low back pain is conceptualized as a complex phenomenon including biological, social and psychological aspects, all of which should be addressed in a treatment program. A multimodal treatment program for chronic low back pain is presented, in which physical activity and cooperation of the patient are the primary targets. Therapeutic aims focus less on pain reduction and emphasize instead pain control, individual responsibility of the patient, and early reintegration into the working environment. The specific goals of the program are to increase the physical abilities of the patients (i. e., flexibility, strength and endurance), to increase patients' knowledge and the use of body mechanics and back protection techniques, to decrease medication-intake, to decrease dependency on the medical community, to improve patients' own positive coping skills and levels of emotional control, to increase the patient's activity level at home and to facilitate a return to work.
A total of 90 disabled patients with chronic low back pain were admitted to an 8-week program of functional restoration and behavioral support. The program consisted of a pre-program (3 weeks: education, stretching and calisthenic exercises) and an intensive treatment period (aerobics, functional strength and endurance exercises, back exercises, cognitive behavioral group therapy, relaxation training, socioeconomic and vocational counseling) which took place for 5 weeks, 7 h a day, on an outpatient basis. Apart from a medical examination and a personal interview, the patients' physical impairment, pain descriptions, and psychological distress (according to different criteria for evaluation) were also measured. This includes variables such as depression, psychovegetative complaints, quality of life and workplace satisfaction, disability, and coping with disease. Measurements were repeated at the end of the 8-week program, and after 6 and 12 months.
In total 84 patients (94 %) were examined following treatment. There was a statistically significant improvement in flexibility, strength, lifting capacity, and endurance measurements ( p < 0.001) at the end of the treatment. In addition, significant reductions in pain, disability, depression, and psychovegetative signs were demonstrated ( p < 0.001). There was a decreased use of medical treatment for back pain following the program, with 42 % of the patients refraining from the intake of analgesics, followed by a significant reduction in physiotherapy and the consultation of physicians. Assessment of the patients' reported increased activity levels at home also supported findings that statistical improvements were significant. Sixty-three percent of the patients were found to have returned to active, productive work following discharge from the program. Most of the improvements remained stable at the 6- and 12-month follow-up examinations.
The results demonstrate the effectiveness of the multimodal program of functional restoration, not only concerning positive changes in somatic, psychological and physical variables, but also with respect to the number of patients who returned to work. Our methods are also compared with the discrepant results of multimodal treatment in the United States and Scandinavia.
AuthorsJ Hildebrandt, M Pfingsten, C Franz, P Saur, D Seeger
JournalSchmerz (Berlin, Germany) (Schmerz) Vol. 10 Issue 4 Pg. 190-203 (Aug 26 1996) ISSN: 0932-433X [Print] Germany
Vernacular TitleDas Göttinger Rücken Intensiv Programm (GRIP)--ein multimodales Behandlungsprogramm für Patienten mit chronischen Rückenschmerzen, Teil 1 Ergebnisse im Uberblick.
PMID12799853 (Publication Type: English Abstract, Journal Article)

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