Background: Back School and McKenzie methods are popular active treatment approaches that include both exercises and information for patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain. Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of Back School and McKenzie methods in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain. Design: The study was a prospectively registered, 2-arm randomized controlled trial with a blinded assessor. Setting. The study was conducted in the outpatient physical therapy clinic in São Paulo, Brazil. Patients: The study participants were 148 patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain. Interventions: The 4-week treatment program (one session/week) was based on the Back School (delivered to the group) or McKenzie (delivered individually) principles. The participants also were instructed to perform a daily set of home exercises. Measurements: Clinical outcomes were assessed at follow-up appointments at 1, 3, and 6 months after randomization. Primary outcome measures were pain intensity (measured by the 0-10 pain numerical rating scale) and disability (measured by the 24-item Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire) 1 month after randomization. Secondary outcome measures were pain intensity and disability at 3 and 6 months after randomization, quality of life (measured by the World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF instrument) at 1, 3, and 6 months after randomization, and trunk flexion range of motion measured by an inclinometer at 1 month after randomization. The data were collected by a blinded assessor. Results: Participants allocated to the McKenzie group had greater improvements in disability at 1 month (mean effect=2.37 points, 95% confidence interval=0.76 to 3.99) but not for pain (mean effect=0.66 points, 95% confidence interval=-0.29 to 1.62). No between-group differences were observed for all secondary outcome measures. Limitations: It was not possible to monitor the home exercise program. Therapists and participants were not blinded. Conclusions: The McKenzie method (a more resource-intensive intervention) was slightly more effective than the Back School method for disability, but not for pain intensity immediately after treatment in participants with chronic low back pain.
- Patient/Client-Related Instruction
- Self-Care and Home Management
- Injuries and Conditions: Low Back
- Randomised Controlled Trials