DG Journal Club
BACKGROUND There are no clear indicators for predicting return to work for patients with chronic low back pain (LBP). We aim to report the outcomes of a 14-week multidisciplinary programme targeting patients with chronic LBP who failed conventional physiotherapy to provide functional rehabilitation. Also, this study will identify factors predicting successful return to work (RTW).
METHODS A collected cohort of patients with chronic LBP was consecutively enrolled into the programme from 1996 to 2014. All recruited patients failed to RTW despite at least 3 months of conservative treatment. Patient underwent weekly multidisciplinary sessions with physiotherapists, occupational therapists and clinical psychologists. Patient perceived function was considered the primary outcome of the programme. Patients were assessed for their sitting, standing and walking tolerance. Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and Spinal Function Sort Score (SFSS) were used to assess patient perceived disability.
RESULTS One hundred and fifty-eight patients were recruited. After the programme, statistically significant improvement was found in ODI (47.5 to 45.0, p = 0.01) and SFSS (98.0 to 109.5, p < 0.001). There was statistically significant improvement (p < 0.01) in sitting, standing, walking tolerance and straight leg raise tests. 47.4% of the patients were able to meet their work demand. Multivariate logistic regression model (R 2 = 59.5%, χ 2 (9) = 85.640, p < 0.001) demonstrated that lower initial job demand level and higher patient-perceived back function correlated with greater likelihood of returning to work.
CONCLUSION The results of this study may support the use of this multidisciplinary programme to improve patient function and return to work.