Assessing a Risk Tailored Intervention to Prevent Disabling Low Back Pain – Protocol of a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

Carsten Oliver Schmidt; Jean-François Chenot; Michael Pfingsten; Ruth Anja Fahland; Gabriele Lindena; Ulf Marnitz; Klaus Pfeifer; Thomas Kohlmann

Disclosures

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. ;11(1):5 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Background: Although most patients with low back pain (LBP) recover within a few weeks a significant proportion has recurrent episodes or will develop chronic low back pain. Several mainly psychosocial risk factors for developing chronic LBP have been identified. However, effects of preventive interventions aiming at behavioural risk factors and unfavourable cognitions have yielded inconsistent results. Risk tailored interventions may provide a cost efficient and effective means to take systematic account of the individual risk factors but evidence is lacking.
Methods/Design: This study will be a cluster-randomised controlled trial comparing screening and a subsequent risk tailored intervention for patients with low back pain to prevent chronic low back pain compared to treatment as usual in primary care. A total of 600 patients from 20 practices in each study arm will be recruited in Berlin and Goettingen. The intervention comprises the following elements: Patients will be assigned to one of four risk groups based on a screening questionnaire. Subsequently they receive an educational intervention including information and counselling tailored to the risk group. A telephone/email consulting service for back pain related problems are offered independent of risk group assignment. The primary outcomes will be functional capacity and sick leave.
Discussion: This trial will evaluate the effectiveness of screening for risk factors for chronic low back pain followed by a risk tailored intervention to prevent chronic low back pain. This trial will contribute new evidence regarding the flexible use of individual physical and psychosocial risk factors in general practice.

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