Physiotherapist-led pain management classes

In this study from King’s College London in the UK, it appears to be a “cost-effective alternative to usual outpatient physiotherapy.”

First, the details.

  • 212 patients with chronic low back pain were randomly assigned to usual outpatient physiotherapy, spinal stabilization classes, or physiotherapist-led pain management classes.
  • Primary outcome was the Roland Disability Questionnaire score 18 months from the start of the study.

And, the results.

  • There were similar results for each group based on the Roland Disability Questionnaire score.
  • Pain, quality of life, and time off from work also improved, with no between-group differences.
  • Average healthcare costs were €474 ($959) for individual physiotherapy, €379 ($769) for spinal stabilization, and €165 ($334) for pain management.

The bottom line?

  • The pain management program included up to 8 sessions of 90 minutes supervised by a senior physiotherapist and physiotherapy assistant.
  • It included structured back pain education with paced general strengthening, stretching, and light aerobic exercises.
  • The objective was to reduce fear of movement and reinjury, and encourage self-management with goal-setting and positive coping strategies.

The researcher concluded, “A more widespread adoption of physiotherapist-led pain management could result in considerable cost savings for healthcare providers.”

8/7/07 22:50 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.