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American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation:
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3181e72239
Original Research Article: Back Pain

The Effect of Back School Integrated with Core Strengthening in Patients with Chronic Low-Back Pain

Yang, Eun Joo MD; Park, Won-Beom MD, PhD; Shin, Hyung-Ik MD, PhD; Lim, Jae-Young MD, PhD

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Yang EJ, Park W-B, Shin H-I, Lim J-Y: The Effect of Back School Integrated with Core Strengthening in Patients with Chronic Low-Back Pain.

Objective: To assess the effect of back school integrated with core-strengthening exercises on back-specific disability and pain-coping strategies and to examine how reactions to pain affect the outcomes of back school in patients with chronic low back pain.

Design: A single-center prospective trial was conducted with 142 participants with chronic low-back pain (38 men and 104 women) who completed a back school program at the spine center of a university hospital. The subjects participated in a 4-wk program integrated with core-strengthening exercises. Back-specific disabilities were measured as a primary outcome before and after the program. Secondary outcomes were pain, Chronic Pain Coping Inventory, general health status assessed by the SF-36, and quantitative functional evaluations of factors, such as trunk muscle strength, endurance, and the back performance scale. A subgroup of 28 subjects (12 men and 16 women) of the total sample of 142 subjects was used to analyze the longitudinal association between coping strategies and the primary outcome in a long-term follow-up study. These participants were divided into three groups (much improved, slightly improved, and unimproved) based on changes in back-specific disability scores.

Results: Participants improved significantly in terms of back-specific disability, pain, general health, and quantitative functional tests according to the short-term evaluation. They used more relaxation and exercise/stretching techniques as coping strategies. Of the groups participating in the longer-term follow-up (T3), the much-improved group showed significant improvement between T1 (before back school) and T2 (after back school) in scores for relaxation (1.6 ± 1.0 vs. 2.6 ± 1.1), task persistence (2.9 ± 1.2 vs. 3.7 ± 1.2), and exercise (3.3 ± 1.1 vs. 5.2 ± 1.9), but the coping strategies of those in the slightly improved and unimproved groups did not change significantly at T2.

Conclusions: Our back school program may help patients with chronic low back pain reduce back-specific disability and pain and develop wellness-focused coping strategies such as exercise and stretching.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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