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Interventions focusing on psychosocial risk factors for patients with non-chronic low back pain in primary care--a systematic review

22 Jul 2014


Low back pain (LBP) is a problem that is frequently encountered in primary care, and current guidelines encourage care providers to take into account psychosocial risk factors in order to avoid transition from acute to chronic LBP.


To review the effectiveness of interventions focusing on psychosocial risk factors for patients with non-chronic LBP in primary care.


A systematic search was undertaken for controlled trials focusing on psychosocial factors in adult patients with non-chronic, non-specific LBP in primary care by exploring Medline, Embase, PsycInfo, Francis, Web of Sciences and The Cochrane Library. The methodological quality of the studies included was assessed before analysing their findings.


Thirteen studies were selected, seven being considered as having a low risk of bias. Information strategies were assessed by eight trials, with high-quality evidence of no effectiveness for pain, function, work issues and health care use, low-quality evidence of no effectiveness for self-rated overall improvement, satisfaction and pain beliefs and lack of evidence in terms of quality of life. Cognitive behavioural therapy was assessed by three trials, with very low-quality evidence of moderate effectiveness for pain, function, quality of life, work issues and health care use. There was lack of evidence concerning the effectiveness of individual and group education intervention or work coordination.


Among the wide range of psychosocial risk factors, research has focused mainly on pain beliefs and coping skills, with disappointing results. Extended theoretical models integrating several psychosocial factors and multicomponent interventions are probably required to meet the challenge of LBP.

22 July 2014

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Family Practice