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Psychological interventions for chronic, non-specific low back pain: systematic review with network meta-analysis | The BMJ

A comprehensive new study involving more than 13,000 patients suggests that the best treatments for chronic back pain should cover both physical and mental aspects – rather than concentrating solely on physical remedies.

The report which was recently published in the highly regarded peer-reviewed journal The British Medical Journal. The study was carried out from researchers at the University of Sydney, Australia.

They looked at systematic reviews of 97 previous trials. The studies looked at outcomes from physiotherapy alone and outcomes when physiotherapy was combined with a psychological program.

Researchers found that adding psychological interventions to treatments – mainly cognitive behavioural therapy and pain education – led to the most sustainable benefits for both physical function and pain intensity.

The study concluded that to “optimise improvement in patient outcomes (in non-specific back pain), clinicians should consider strategies to promote early and cohesive co-delivery of structured exercise and psychological strategies”


Based on this evidence, we recommend that for non-specific low back pain, a combination of a physiotherapy program combined with an online chronic pain self-management program such as ours,, is more likely to provide better outcomes in the areas of increasing physical function and pain intensity.