This systematic review and meta-analysis examined the effectiveness of multidisciplinary-based rehabilitation (MBR) in comparison with active physical interventions for adults with chronic pain.
Materials and Methods:
The review was conducted in line with the recommendations provided in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews and is reported in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A total of 8 electronic databases were searched from inception to November 2018. Only randomized controlled trials were eligible for inclusion. In total, 31 trials were identified, and most studies involved patients with chronic low back pain (25 trials). The main outcomes considered were pain intensity and disability at short-term follow-up (≤3 mo after treatment), medium-term follow-up (>3 and <12 mo), and long-term follow-up (≥12 mo). The quality of the evidence was assessed according to the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach
A total of 27 studies were included in the meta-analysis. Statistically significant differences in favor of MBR were found for pain intensity and disability at short-term follow-up (standardized mean difference=0.53 and 0.50) and long-term follow-up (standardized mean difference=0.56 and 0.77), but the quality of the evidence was low. There was no significant difference between MBR and active physical interventions in the medium-term follow-up.
Overall, the results suggest that MBR may lead to greater improvements in pain intensity and disability compared with active physical interventions, and the effects appear to be sustained in the long term. However, these findings should be interpreted with caution in light of the low quality of the evidence, with all but one trial judged to be at high risk of bias. Further research is required to assess the effectiveness of MBR for people with chronic pain conditions other than low back pain.