Early access to physical therapy treatment for subacute low back pain in primary health care: a prospective randomized clinical trial.
Journal article, 2006

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effects of early access (EA) to physical therapy treatment for patients with subacute low back pain compared to access with a 4-week waiting list. DESIGN: A prospective, randomized clinical trial. SETTING: Primary health care. PATIENTS: Sixty consecutive patients with subacute low back pain. INTERVENTIONS: Patients were randomized either to EA within 2 days for physical examination and individualized physical therapy treatment (n=32) or a control group with a 4-week waiting list (n=28). OUTCOME MEASURES: Self-administrated questionnaires were used for assessment at inclusion, at discharge, and at 6 months. Primary outcome measure was pain intensity assessed by Borg category scale for ratings of perceived pain. Secondary outcomes included the Orebro musculoskeletal pain screening questionnaire, the Roland and Morris disability questionnaire, sick-leave, visits to health care, and physical therapy. RESULTS: The results showed no significant differences in pain between the groups at discharge. At 6 months, the reduction of pain was significantly greater in the EA group compared to the control group (P=0.025). Changes in secondary outcome measures were not significantly different between groups. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicated that EA to physical therapy resulted in greater improvement in perceived pain at 6 months compared to later access. In this study, EA to physical therapy could be introduced by reorganization without additional resources.


early access

Low back pain

physical therapy


Lena Nordeman

University of Gothenburg

Björn Nilsson

Margareta Möller

University of Gothenburg

Ronny K Gunnarsson

University of Gothenburg

Clinical Journal of Pain

0749-8047 (ISSN)

Vol. 22 6 505-11

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