GP-led back pain education of no benefit: study

Australian researchers say intensive patient education is no better than placebo

GP-led intensive patient education does not improve pain outcomes in those with acute low back pain receiving recommended first-line care, according to a new Australian trial.

Despite the fact a 2008 Cochrane review concluded that it was effective, and every major guideline includes this recommendation, no placebo-controlled trials have investigated whether it is helpful.

So the Preventing Chronic Low Back Pain (PREVENT) Trial was set up in by a team at the University of Sydney.

The team randomised 202 patients who had been experiencing low back pain for less than six weeks to receive two one-hour sessions of patient education or placebo patient education.

Ninety-four in the active treatment group and 89 in the placebo group completed the 12-month follow-up. 

The study found no significant difference between the two groups in the primary endpoint of

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