The Godelieve Denys-Struyf method (GDS) is a motor learning intervention that can be administered in group or individualized sessions. To compare the effectiveness of: a) routine physiotherapy, b) group GDS (GDS-G) sessions, c) group and individualized GDS (GDS-I) sessions. 461patients with sub-acute and chronic low back pain (LBP) from 21 Primary Care Physical Therapy Units (“clusters”) of the Spanish National Health Service (SNHS). Clusters were randomized into three groups. All received medical treatment and a 15 min group education session on active management. Additional interventions were; “Control”, fifteen 40 min. sessions of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, microwave and standardized exercises; “GDS-G”, eleven 50 min group GDS sessions; “GDS-I”, the same 11 sessions plus four 50-min individualized GDS sessions. At 12 months, disability improved 0.7 (95% CI: -0.4;1.8) RMQ points in the Control group, 1.5 (0.4;2.7) in the GDS-I group (p=0.252) and 2.2 (1.2;3.2) in the GDS-G group (p=0.024). There weren’t any differences in pain.
Disability improvement was slightly higher with Group GDS sessions than with the program regularly used in PT Units within the SNHS. Adding individualized GDS sessions eliminates this advantage. Additional studies should compare GDS with other types of exercise.