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April/May 2010 (vol. 06/6)

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Research Plus

Integrated care can reduce LBP disability

A programme of integrated care, directed at both the patient and the workplace, is beneficial for people with chronic low back pain (LBP), according to a randomised controlled trial carried out in the Netherlands. The multidisciplinary intervention was designed to restore occupational functioning and achieve lasting return to work in the patients’ own job or similar work. Patients were randomised either to ‘usual care’ or to a programme that combined participatory ergonomics with graded activity based on cognitive behavioural principles. Mean sickness absence duration was 88 days in the integrated care group, compared with 208 days in the usual care group (p = 0.003). Median sickness absence in the 12 months’ follow-up was 82 days in the intervention group, compared with 175 in the usual care group (p = 0.003). The authors acknowledge that a Hawthorne effect cannot be ruled out.

British Medical Journal 2010; 340: c1035. Online first: doi:10.1136/bmj.c1035. http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c1035

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Occupational Health at Work April/May 2010 (vol. 06/6) pp48