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Do Patients with Chronic Lower Back Pain do Better with Maintenance Care ?

Doctors in a rehab department in Egypt performed a patient blinded trial to determine if maintenance treatments are useful for patients with long-standing lower back pain problems. This trial included an initial phase of manipulation or sham manipulation followed by nothing or 18 bi-weekly maintenance treatments.

Numerous studies previously have looked at acute lower back pain , however the effect of maintenance care on back pain has not been looked at. 60 people volunteered for the investigation. All with problems that had been present for more than 6 months. They were sent to he following 3 options. 12 fake treatments that were performed over 30 days. A dozen real manual therapy treatments over the same period of time, with no further follow-up, and a dozen treatments over he initial 30 days again followed by 9 months of biweekly visits.

They recorded the following values for evaluation, numbers for pain, numbers for disability, general level of health, satisfaction levels. These were recorded at 1,4,7,and 10 months time.

At the end of 30 days group 2 and 3 showed significant improvement over the sham patients. Only the 3rd group who received bi-weekly treatments showed improvement a 10 months. In group 1 and 2 the levels returned o what they were recorded as at the start of the trial.

They concluded that lower back pain chronic patients will benefit from biweekly treatment after the initial series of visits.