Multidisciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation for subacute low back pain among working age adults.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000CD
Multidisciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation programs are widely applied for chronic low back pain patients. The biopsychosocial approach for low back pain could also be considered to prevent chronicity by carrying out the rehabilitation if the acute pain is prolonged. Nevertheless multidisciplinary treatment programmes are often laborious and long processes and require good collaboration between the patient, the rehabilitation team and the work place. By workplace visits and close relationship with occupational health care one might expect results in terms of patients working ability.
The objective of this systematic review was to determine the effectiveness of multidisciplinary rehabilitation for subacute low back pain among working age adults.
The reviewed studies for this structured Cochrane review were identified from electronic bibliographic databases, the Science Citation Index, reference checking and consulting experts in the rehabilitation field. The original search was planned and performed for more broad area of musculoskeletal disorders. Trials on subacute low back pain were separated afterwards.
From all references found in our original search we selected randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-randomized controlled clinical trials (CCTs). Trials had to assess the effectiveness of multidisciplinary rehabilitation for working age patients suffering from subacute low back pain (more than 4 weeks but less than 3 months). The rehabilitation program was required to be multidisciplinary, i.e.; it had to consist of a physician's consultation plus either a psychological, social or vocational intervention, or a combination of these.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Four blinded reviewers selected the randomized controlled trials and controlled trials that met the specified inclusion criteria. Two experts in the field of rehabilitation evaluated the clinical relevance and applicability of the findings of the selected studies to actual clinical use. Two other blinded reviewers extracted the data and assessed the main results and the methodological quality of the studies using standardized forms. Finally, a qualitative analysis was performed to evaluate the level of scientific evidence for the effectiveness of multidisciplinary rehabilitation.
After screening 1808 abstracts, and the references of 65 reviews, we found only 2 relevant studies that satisfied our criteria on subacute low back pain. They were both considered to be methodologically low quality randomized controlled trials. The clinical relevance of included studies was sufficient. The level of scientific evidence for the effectiveness of multidisciplinary rehabilitation was moderate on subacute low back pain showing that multidisciplinary rehabilitation which includes workplace visit or more comprehensive occupational health care intervention helps patients to return to work faster, makes sick leaves less and alleviates subjective disability.
We conclude that there is moderate evidence of positive effectiveness of multidisciplinary rehabilitation for subacute low back pain and workplace visit increases the effectiveness. But because this evidence is based on the trials that had some methodological shortcomings and several expensive multidisciplinary rehabilitation programmes are commonly used for common subacute low back problems, there is an obvious need for high quality trials in this field.