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The Long-term Effect of Multidisciplinary Back Training: A Systematic Review

van Geen, Jan-Willem, MSc; Edelaar, Michel J. A., MSc; Janssen, Miriam, PhD; van Eijk, Jacques Th. M., PhD

doi: 10.1097/01.brs.0000251745.00674.08
Health Services Research

Study Design. Systematic review of randomized controlled trials.

Objectives. To determine the long-term effect of multidisciplinary back training on the work participation of patients with nonspecific chronic low back pain.

Summary of Background Data. Chronic low back pain is influenced by multiple factors. Multidisciplinary back training represents one of the options to take this multiplicity into account. So far, only evidence of the short-term effectiveness of this approach in terms of work participation is available.

Methods. Electronic databases were searched and the references of various articles were screened for relevant publications. Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. All included studies were evaluated for their methodologic quality.

Results. Five of the studies had a low methodologic quality. All high-quality studies found a positive effect on at least one of the 4 outcome measures used. Based on our criteria, effectiveness was found for the outcome measures of work participation and quality of life. No effectiveness was found for experienced pain and functional status. The intensity of the intervention seems to have no substantial influence on the effectiveness of the intervention.

Conclusion. In the long-term, multidisciplinary back training has a positive effect on work participation in patients with nonspecific chronic low back pain.

In this survey, the long-term effectiveness of multidisciplinary back training in terms of work participation by chronic patients with low back pain was evaluated. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials was performed. A positive effect of multidisciplinary back training on work participation was found.

From the Health Care Studies/Medical Sociology, Rehabilitation Center Heliomare, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Acknowledgment date: November 12, 2004. First revision date: February 24, 2006. Acceptance date: March 27, 2006.

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

No funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jacques Th. M. van Eijk, PhD, Health Care Studies/Medical Sociology, PO Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands; E-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.