The objective of this study was to investigate a structured physiotherapy treatment model in patients who qualify for lumbar disc surgery. A prospective cohort study consisting of forty-one patients with lumbar disc herniation, diagnosed by clinical assessments and magnetic resonance imaging. Patients followed a structured physiotherapy treatment model, including Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), combined with graded trunk stabilization training. Study outcome measures were the Oswestry Disability Index, a visual analogue scale for leg and back pain, the Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia, the European Quality of Life in 5 Dimensions Questionnaires, the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale, the Self-Efficacy Scale, work status, and patient satisfaction with treatment. Questionnaires were distributed before treatment and at 3-, 12- and 24-month follow-ups. Results: The patients had already improved significantly (p < 0.001) 3 months after the structured physiotherapy treatment model in all assessments: disability, leg and back pain, kinesiophobia, health-related quality of life, depression and self-efficacy. The improvement could still be observed at the 2-year follow-up.
This study recommended adopting the structured physiotherapy treatment model prior to considering surgery for patients with symptoms such as pain and disability as a result of lumbar disc herniation.