A 10-year follow-up of tailored behavioural treatment and exercise-based physiotherapy for persistent musculoskeletal pain

The aim of this study was to look at the long-term outcomes of two interventions targeting patients with sub-acute and persistent pain in a primary care physiotherapy setting.

The study consisted of a 10-year follow-up of a two-armed randomised controlled trial, initially including 97 participants who underwent one of the following treatments: tailored behavioural medicine treatment, applied in a physiotherapy context (experimental condition), and exercise-based physiotherapy (control condition).

The primary outcome measured was pain-related disability. The maximum pain intensity, pain control, fear of movement, sickness-related absence (register data) and perceived benefit and confidence in coping with future pain problems were the secondary outcomes.

The study found that the groups did not differ in terms of the change in the scores for the primary outcome of pain-related disability. Further, there were also no significant differences found for the secondary outcomes except for sickness-related absence.

The beneficial effects favouring tailored behavioural medicine treatment that observed post-treatment and at the two-year follow-up were not maintained 10 years after treatment.