A brief intervention utilising visual feedback reduces pain and enhances tactile acuity in CLBP patients

Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a significant health problem in industrialised countries and the efficacy of current treatment options is not satisfying. This study investigates the effects of a combined intervention that utilizes visual feedback, motion and sensory discrimination training in CLBP patients. Thirty patients of an outpatient orthopaedic rehabilitation unit were assigned at random to either feedback or control group. In addition to standard treatment, patients of the feedback group received 6 feedback sessions where they watched the image of their back during a brief 2-point discrimination training and, after that, while they were tilting their pelvis up and down on the left and right side using their lumbar musculus multifidus solely. The control group received 6 sessions consisting of 2 units of physiotherapy, relaxation training and movement training (walking) each. A significant effect on self-reported pain and sensory discrimination threshold could be seen for the feedback intervention, while, as anticipated, other pain related variables, like pain anxiety, pain vigilance, depression and cognitive appraisal of pain did not change.

These findings suggest that very simple feedback interventions without major technical requirements could be a valuable supplement to standard treatment in CLBP.

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