METHODS: One hundred fourteen ambulatory patients of working age with back pain for 7 weeks or more were randomly assigned to the therapies, which were offered in up to 10 sessions during a 6-week treatment period. The outcome was measured by the Oswestry Disability Questionnaire. Sick-leaves and visits to health centers were recorded for 1 year before and after the therapy.
RESULTS: The Oswestry disability scores improved most in the bone-setting group (P =.02, Kruskall-Wallis test). Visits to health centers for back pain were reduced only in the physiotherapy group (P =.01, Wilcoxon test). Sick-leaves were not significantly different between groups. A secondary analysis based on the use of additional therapies after the intervention showed a possible subgroup with an enhanced effect from bone-setting.
CONCLUSIONS: Traditional bone-setting seemed more effective than exercise or physiotherapy on back pain and disability, even 1 year after therapy.
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