Chronic Low Back Pain and Primary Health Care

2014-08-27 03:12:48 | BioPortfolio


Kentucky ranks 2nd in disability among states, with chronic low back pain (CLBP) as a major disability, especially in the investigators rural areas. Kentucky and U.S. health care providers need alternative and effective treatments. Following NCCAM strategic research recommendations, this study will investigate health services outcomes of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies in an existing primary care practice-based research network (PBRN). The Patients with CLBP are often willing to try therapeutic options outside the conventional medical spectrum. Massage and relaxation therapies have demonstrated fairly good efficacy in controlled trials but their effectiveness in the "real world" of primary care is only beginning to be evaluated. The long-term goal of the proposed project builds on the foundation of these two established therapies to improve treatment of chronic low back pain (CLBP) in primary care practices. Two alternative (CAM) therapies, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) and clinical massage therapy (CMT), will be studied. The short-term objectives of the proposed project are to: (1) examine outcomes of CAM for patients with CLBP referred from primary care practices, and (2) better understand physician decision-making to recommend CAM therapy for CLBP. Specific Aim 1 will evaluate improvement in health-related outcomes for patients with CLBP when referred to PMR or CMT from primary care. Specific Aim 2 will explore selected factors in primary care physicians' decisions to recommend CAM therapy to these patients. The proposed study is unique in that it addresses "real life" clinical situations and decision-making in both urban and rural clinical practices within an existing PBRN. Should such CAM referral prove successful for ameliorating CLBP, it would provide relatively low cost, non-addictive treatment options for inclusion in the repertoire of primary care physicians.


The proposed study will investigate health related outcomes of two CAM treatments recommended by primary care physicians for CLBP, and explore selected elements in the decision process to recommend or not recommend one of two CAM treatments.

Patients and primary care physicians (PCPs) will participate from metropolitan and nonmetropolitan central Kentucky practices of the Kentucky Ambulatory Network (KAN), Kentucky's statewide primary care practice-based research network (PBRN). Each practice will have a patient participant enrollment period of four weeks. Patients with CLBP who have a visit during the enrollment period in a practice may be eligible to participate in the study, and participating PCPs will be invited to recommend as many eligible patients as they feel comfortable. During patient visits, the PCP may offer a recommendation to the patient to receive PMR or CMT. Patients who agree will be recruited by the KAN/CAM project team staff. Patients who enroll in the CAM recommendation study will receive a 12-week course of PMR or CMT treatments. Outcomes will be measured at three time points: baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks.

Study Design

Allocation: Non-Randomized, Control: Uncontrolled, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Low Back Pain


Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), Clinical Massage Therapy (CMT)


Department of Family and Community Medicine; University of Kentucky
United States


Active, not recruiting


University of Kentucky

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:12:48-0400

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