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Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 May 2024 - 24 May 2024

2024 May 21

Sci Rep




Physiotherapeutic and non-conventional approaches in patients with chronic low-back pain: a level I Bayesian network meta-analysis.


Baroncini A, Maffulli N, Schäfer L, Manocchio N, Bossa M, Foti C, Klimuch A, Migliorini F


Chronic low back pain (cLBP) is a major cause of disability and healthcare expenditure worldwide. Its prevalence is increasing globally from somatic and psychosocial factors. While non-pharmacological management, and in particular physiotherapy, has been recommended as a first-line treatment for cLBP, it is not clear what type of physiotherapeutic approach is the most effective in terms of pain reduction and function improvement. This analysis is rendered more difficult by the vast number of available therapies and a lack of a widely accepted classification that can effectively highlight the differences in the outcomes of different management options. This study was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines. In January 2024, the following databases were accessed: PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Embase. All the randomised controlled trials (RCTs) which compared the efficacy of physiotherapy programs in patients with cLBP were accessed. Studies reporting on non-specific or mechanical cLPB were included. Data concerning the Visual Analogic Scale (VAS) or numeric rating scale (NRS), Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMQ) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). Data from 12,773 patients were collected. The mean symptom duration was 61.2 ± 51.0 months and the mean follow-up was 4.3 ± 5.9 months. The mean age was 44.5 ± 9.4 years. The mean BMI was 25.8 ± 2.9 kg/m. The Adapted Physical Exercise group evidenced the lowest pain score, followed by Multidisciplinary and Adapted Training Exercise/Complementary Medicine. The Adapted Physical Exercise group evidenced the lowest RMQ score followed by Therapeutic Exercises and Multidisciplinary. The Multidisciplinary group evidenced the lowest ODI score, followed by Adapted Physical Exercise and Physical Agent modalities. Within the considered physiotherapeutic and non-conventional approaches to manage nonspecific and/or mechanic cLBP, adapted physical exercise, physical agent modalities, and a multidisciplinary approach might represent the most effective strategy to reduce pain and disability.