Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare reported disability due to chronic low back pain following a motor vehicle collision between groups of those using customized foot orthotics and those not using orthotics.
Methods: Sixty-six consecutive patients referred from primary care medical physicians for the complaint of chronic (> 3 months) low back pain following a motor vehicle collision were included. Thirty patients received “usual care” that included prescription of an exercise therapy program in addition to analgesics. Thirty-four patients received the same therapy along with customized foot orthotics. All patients completed the Oswestry Disability Index at the initiation of the study and at 8-week follow-up. The number of participants using any type of prescription analgesic for their back pain at baseline and at 8 weeks was also recorded.
Results: All patients completed treatment, and the baseline and 8-week questionnaires. Both treatment groups were well matched in terms of age, sex distribution, and duration of low back pain, as well as baseline Oswestry Disability Index score. At 8 weeks, although both groups had improved, the group that used orthotics had a lower Oswestry Disability Index than the usual care group (P < .05), with a smaller proportion of the orthotics group using any form of prescribed analgesics for back pain (P < .05).
Conclusions: In this study, patients with chronic low back pain following a motor vehicle collision who used orthotics in addition to usual care had improved short-term outcomes compared with usual care alone.
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