Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy versus EMG Biofeedback in the treatment of chronic low back pain

Toby R O Newton-John*, Susan H. Spence, David Schotte

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    94 Citations (Scopus)


    Forty-four chronic, but relatively well functioning, low back pain patients were assigned to either Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Electromyographic Biofeedback (EMGBF) or Wait List Control (WLC). Both treatments were conducted over eight sessions in groups of four subjects. Results at post-treatment indicated significant improvements in functioning on measures of pain intensity, perceived level of disability, adaptive beliefs about pain and the level of depression in both the CBT and EMGBF conditions. These improvements were not evident for the WLC condition. At 6 months follow-up, treatment gains were maintained in the areas of pain intensity, pain beliefs, and depression, for both treatment groups, with further improvements occurring in anxiety and use of active coping skills. No significant differences were found between CBT and EMGBF on any of the outcome measures at either post-treatment or at 6 months follow-up. Further research is required to determine the degree to which these results reflect the mild level of psychological impairment and disability status of patients in the present study.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)691-697
    Number of pages7
    JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1995


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