Long-term follow-up of tailored behavioural treatment and exercise based physical therapy in persistent musculoskeletal pain: A randomized controlled trial in primary care

Pernilla Åsenlöf, Eva Denison and Per Lindberg

This study examined long-term effects of a tailored behavioural treatment protocol (TBT), as compared with an exercise based physical therapy protocol (EBT). One-hundred and twenty-two patients who, due to persistent musculoskeletal pain, consulted physical therapists in primary care were originally randomized to either of the two conditions. Follow-up assessments two-year post-treatment were completed by 65 participants. Short-term effects were maintained in both groups for the primary outcome, pain-related disability. The TBT-group reported lower disability levels compared with the EBT-group.

The study supports tailoring of treatments in concordance with patients’ needs and preferences of activity goals and functional behavioural analyses including predictors of pain-related disability, for successful immediate outcomes and their maintenance in the long run. Exercise-based treatments resulted in somewhat smaller immediate treatment effects but had similar maintenance of effects over the 2-year follow-up period.

European Journal of Pain, 5 March 2009, online article ahead of print

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