Physiotherapy-Based Rehabilitation Following Disc Herniation Operation: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial

Erdogmus, Celal B; Resch, Karl-Ludwig; Sabitzer, Ronald; Muller, Horst; Nuhr, Martin; Schoggl, Andreas; Posch, Martin; Osterode, Wolf; Ungersbock, Karl; Ebenbichler, Gerold R.

The objective of this study was to test the effectiveness of physiotherapy-based rehabilitation starting 1 week after lumbar disc surgery. 120 patients following first-time, uncomplicated lumbar disc surgery were randomly assigned to "comprehensive" physiotherapy, "sham" neck massage, or no therapy.  At the end of therapy (12 weeks), the outcomes revealed a significantly better improvement in the physiotherapy group than in the untreated group. However, this did not significantly differ between physiotherapy and "sham" therapy. The authors conclude that as compared with no therapy, physiotherapy following first-time disc herniation operation is effective in the short-term. Because of the limited benefits of physiotherapy relative to "sham" therapy, it is open to question whether this treatment acts primarily physiologically in patients following first-time lumbar disc surgery, but psychological factors may contribute substantially to the benefits observed.

Spine, 2007, 32(19), 2041-2049

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