November 05, 2018
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Patient Education Does Not Improve Pain Outcomes

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Adding 2 hours of intensive patient education — which researchers said consists of several in-depth meetings with a trained health practitioner to discuss psychosocial contributors to pain and advice about pacing and activity — to recommended first-line care for patients with acute low back pain did not improve pain outcomes, according to findings recently published in JAMA Neurology.

“It is unknown whether intensive patient education, in addition to recommended first-line care, can improve outcomes for patients with acute low back pain. To address this gap in the literature, we conducted, to our knowledge, the first randomized, placebo-controlled trial of patient education for acute low back pain,” Adrian C. Traeger, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow at The University of Sydney, and colleagues wrote.

Researchers randomly assigned 202 patients with low back pain for fewer than 6 weeks and at high risk for chronic low back pain based on the validated prognosis model known as Predicting the Inception of Chronic Pain (PICKUP) in a 1:1 ratio to either patient education or placebo patient education. Of that total, 103 were female, the mean age of the participants in the study was 45 years, and more than 90% of the patients completed the 12-month study.

Traeger and colleagues found intensive patient education was not more effective than placebo patient education at reducing pain intensity (3-month mean pain intensity: 2.1 vs. 2.4 on an 11-point scale). The intensive patient education affected the secondary outcome of disability on a 24-point scale at 1 week (mean difference, –1.6 points) and 3 months (mean difference, –1.7 points) but not at 6 or 12 months.

“Our results challenge a widespread belief that patient education is an effective strategy for treatment of acute low back pain,” researchers wrote.

“For example, every clinical guideline recommends patient education to manage acute low back pain. These recommendations are, however, often unaccompanied by an evidence statement (eg, neither U.S. nor U.K. guidelines cite evidence for patient education) or instruction on how patient education interventions should be conducted,” Traeger and colleagues added.

Woman in Back Pain 
Adding 2 hours of intensive patient education — which researchers said consists of several in-depth meetings with a trained health practitioner to discuss psychosocial contributors to pain and advice about pacing and activity — to recommended first-line care for patients with acute low back pain did not improve pain outcomes, according to findings recently published in JAMA Neurology.

Source:Adobe

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Disclosures: Traeger reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.