STUDY DESIGN: A randomized, controlled trial during 10 weeks.
METHODS: One hundred sixty outpatients with acute or subacute low back pain were recruited from a geographically defined area. They were randomly allocated to a reference group treated with the stay-active concept and, in some cases, muscle stretching and an experimental group receiving manual therapy and, in some cases, steroid injections in addition to the stay-active concept. Pain and disability rating index were used as outcome measures.
RESULTS: At baseline, the experimental group had somewhat more pain, a higher disability rating index, and more herniated disks than the reference group. After 5 and 10 weeks, the experimental group had less pain and a lower disability rating index than the reference group.
CLUSIONS: The manual treatment concept used in this study in low back pain patients appears to reduce pain and disability rating better than the traditional stay-active concept.
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