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Self-Management Program Beneficial for Back Pain

Acute low back pain is when symptoms have lasted for less than three months. A new study finds a self-management program that includes group classes, exercise sheet// handouts, and telephone follow-up calls may help patients improve and manage their back pain.

Researchers from Indiana University developed a self-management program for poor, urban patients with low back pain. The program focuses on boosting confidence in order to increase their motivation to incorporate suggestions that would improve their back pain.

For the study, researchers included 211 patients who visited a physician for low back pain. The patients were randomly assigned to the self-management program or the usual care group. The patients in the program attended three group sessions that focused on treatment recommendations, behavioral changes, increased confidence and reducing negative thoughts and behaviors. The patients also received handouts showing exercises for their back pain. Follow-up phone calls were done at four, six and eight weeks after the first class to reinforce what was taught and discuss any concerns. Patients in the usual care group did not receive these three interventions.

Researchers assessed the back pain, health status, confidence and time spent in physical activity at the beginning of the study, at four months, and at one year. Researchers say those patients who were part of the self-management program had less disability, better mental functioning, were better able to manage their back pain, and were more physically active after 12 months compared to the patients in the usual care group.


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