Objective: To evaluate the health-related quality of life effects of muscle stretching, manual therapy and steroid injections in addition to 'stay active' care in acute or subacute low back pain patients.
Study design: A randomized, controlled trial during 10 weeks with four treatment groups.
Setting: Nine primary health care and one outpatient orthopaedic hospital department.
Subjects: One hundred and sixty patients with acute or subacute low back pain.
Interventions: Ten weeks of 'stay active' care only (group 1), or 'stay active' and muscle stretching (group 2), or 'stay active', muscle stretching and manual therapy (group 3), or 'stay active', muscle stretching, manual therapy and steroid injections (group 4).
Main measures: The Gothenburg Quality of Life instrument subscales Well-being score and Complaint score.
Results: In a multivariate analysis adjusted for possible outcome affecting variables other than the treatment given Well-being score was 68.4 (12.5), 72.1 (12.4), 72,3 (12.4) and 72.7 (12.5) in groups 1-4, respectively (P for trend <0.05). There were significant trends for the well-being components patience (P < 0.005), energy (P < 0.05), mood (P < 0.05) and family situation (P < 0.05). The remaining two components and Complaint score showed a non-significant trend towards improvement.
Conclusion: The effects on health-related quality of life were greater the larger the number of treatment modalities available. The 'stay active' treatment group, with the most restricted number of modalities, had the most modest health-related quality of life improvement, while group 4 with the most generous choice of treatment modalities, had the greatest improvement.
2011. Vol. 25, no 11, 999-1010 p.