The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of individualised functional restoration plus guideline-based advice compared to advice alone in people with non-reducible discogenic pain (NRDP). Over a 10 week period physiotherapists provided 10 sessions of individualised functional restoration plus guideline-based advice or two sessions of advice alone to 96 participants.
Between-group differences favoured individualised functional restoration over advice for back pain (1.1, 95% CI 0.1 to 2.1), leg pain (1.5, 95% CI 0.4 to 2.6) and Oswestry (6.3, 95% CI 1.3 to 11.4) at 10 weeks as well as Oswestry at 26 weeks (6.6, 95% CI 1.4 to 11.8). Secondary outcomes and responder analyses also favoured physiotherapy functional restoration suggesting the differences were clinically important. In people with NRDP of ≥6 weeks and ≤6 months duration, individualised functional restoration was more effective than advice for all primary outcomes at 10 weeks and sustained at 26 weeks for activity limitation. Our results suggest that for people with NRDP not recovering after 6 weeks, an individualised physiotherapy functional restoration program should be considered.
A physiotherapist delivered functional restoration program individualised to pathoanatomical, psychosocial and neurophysiological barriers and incorporating guideline-based advice was more effective than advice alone in people with non-reducible discogenic low back pain of ≥6 weeks and ≤6 months duration. This trial differs significantly from other studies on individualised physiotherapy, as it investigates a conservative management program that specifically targets the pathoanatomical subgroup non-reducible discogenic pain.