Recent Study Compares Conventional Physical Therapy and Intensive Exercises

By Richard H. Adler, Attorney at Law

All physical therapists, when treating low back injuries, recommend some form of back exercises or therapy. A recent study published in Spine1 studied two different types of physical therapy modalities.

In a randomized, observer-blind trial, 150 men and women, aged 21 – 64 years, with chronic and sub-chronic low back pain, followed one of three treatment regimes:

Intensive, dynamic back-muscle exercise;

Conventional physiotherapy, including isometric exercises for the trunk and leg muscles; and

Placebo-control treatment involving semi hot packs and light traction.
Eight treatment sessions were given during the course of four weeks, each session lasting one hour. The short-term effect was evaluated at the conclusion of the treatment period and one month later, and the long-term effect at six and twelve months.

The authors evaluated the changes in pain levels and assessment of overall treatment effect, indicated on visual interval scales.

The results were interesting:

Conventional physiotherapy was the superior treatment for the male participants;

Intensive back exercises appears to be most efficient for the female participants;

Patients with moderate or hard physical occupations tended toward a better response with conventional physiotherapy;

Intensive back exercises seemed most effective for those with sedentary/light job functions; and

Patients with chronic/sub-chronic low back pain were successfully treated with physical therapy and intensive dynamic back exercises, but not with placebo-control treatment.
This article raises some interesting issues surrounding post-traumatic patient support, which are important to the provider and attorney team who can best help the patient/client. We believe the provider/attorney connection is natural and best serves the interests of the patient/client when both health care and legal communities work together. If we can assist any of your patients, simply have them give us a call. Consultations are without cost.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Adler
Attorney at Law

1 Rolsted Hansen, M.D., et al., “Intensive, Dynamic Back-Muscle Exercises, Conventional Physiotherapy, or Placebo-Control Treatment of Low-Back Pain,” Spine, May 1993, pp. 98 – 108.