Effectiveness of back school versus McKenzie exercises in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain: a randomized controlled trial
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Phys Ther. 2013 Jun;93(6):729-47. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20120414. Epub 2013 Feb 21.
Effectiveness of back school versus McKenzie exercises in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain: a randomized controlled trial.
Garcia AN1, Costa Lda C, da Silva TM, Gondo FL, Cyrillo FN, Costa RA, Costa LO.
Back School and McKenzie methods are popular active treatment approaches that include both exercises and information for patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain.
The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of Back School and McKenzie methods in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain.
The study was a prospectively registered, 2-arm randomized controlled trial with a blinded assessor.
The study was conducted in the outpatient physical therapy clinic in São Paulo, Brazil.
The study participants were 148 patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain.
The 4-week treatment program (one session/week) was based on the Back School (delivered to the group) or McKenzie (delivered individually) principles. The participants also were instructed to perform a daily set of home exercises.
Clinical outcomes were assessed at follow-up appointments at 1, 3, and 6 months after randomization. Primary outcome measures were pain intensity (measured by the 0-10 pain numerical rating scale) and disability (measured by the 24-item Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire) 1 month after randomization. Secondary outcome measures were pain intensity and disability at 3 and 6 months after randomization, quality of life (measured by the World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF instrument) at 1, 3, and 6 months after randomization, and trunk flexion range of motion measured by an inclinometer at 1 month after randomization. The data were collected by a blinded assessor.
Participants allocated to the McKenzie group had greater improvements in disability at 1 month (mean effect=2.37 points, 95% confidence interval=0.76 to 3.99) but not for pain (mean effect=0.66 points, 95% confidence interval=-0.29 to 1.62). No between-group differences were observed for all secondary outcome measures.
It was not possible to monitor the home exercise program. Therapists and participants were not blinded.
The McKenzie method (a more resource-intensive intervention) was slightly more effective than the Back School method for disability, but not for pain intensity immediately after treatment in participants with chronic low back pain.