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JAMA reports on a randomized clinical trial of 202 adults with acute low back pain showing the addition of intensive patient education failed to improve pain outcomes.
This randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial recruited patients from general practices in Sydney, Australia, between 2013 - 2015. Patients had to have acute low back pain of fewer than 6 weeks’ duration.
The intervention was either two additional 1 -hour sessions of patient education or placebo patient education (active listening, without information or advice). The primary outcome was pain intensity.
After 3 months, intensive patient education was no more effective than placebo patient education at reducing pain intensity (2.1 vs 2.4 ).
It appears that adding 2 hours of patient education as first-line care for those with acute low back pain. These results are interesting in light of published clinical guideline recommendations advocating for patient education. It may be that this study failed to address where the impact of education may be found or better assessed. Such as in quality of life, patient compliance or cost of care or ongoing care.