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Randomized trial of two physiotherapy interventions for primary care neck and back pain patients: 'McKenzie' vs brief physiotherapy pain management

Klaber Moffett, J., Jackson, D.A., Gardiner, E.D., Torgerson, D.J., Coulton, S., Eaton, S., Mooney, M.P., Pickering, C., Green, A.J., Walker, L.G., May, S. and Young, S. (2006) Randomized trial of two physiotherapy interventions for primary care neck and back pain patients: 'McKenzie' vs brief physiotherapy pain management. Rheumatology, 45 (12). pp. 1514-1521. ISSN 1460-2172

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Interventions that take psychosocial factors into account are recommended for patients with persistent back or neck pain. We compared the effectiveness of a brief physiotherapy pain management approach using cognitive–behavioural principles (Solution-Finding Approach—SFA) with a commonly used method of physical therapy (McKenzie Approach—McK).


Eligible patients referred by GPs to physiotherapy departments with neck or back pain lasting at least 2 weeks were randomized to McK (n= 161) or to SFA (n= 154). They were further randomized to receive an educational booklet or not. The primary outcome was the Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia (TSK) (Activity-Avoidance scale used as a proxy for coping) at 6 weeks, and 6 and 12 months.


Of 649 patients assessed for eligibility, 315 were recruited (219 with back pain, 96 with neck pain). There were no statistically significant differences in outcomes between the groups, except that at any time point SFA patients supported by a booklet reported less reliance on health professionals (Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Powerful Others Scale), while at 6 months McK patients showed slightly more improvement on activity-avoidance (TSK). At 6 weeks, patient satisfaction was greater for McK (median 90% compared with 70% for SFA). Both interventions resulted in modest but clinically important improvements over time on the Roland Disability Questionnaire Scores and Northwick Park Neck Pain Scores.


The McK approach resulted in higher patient satisfaction overall but the SFA could be more cost-effective, as fewer (three vs four) sessions were needed.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Health Sciences (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2009 12:19
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2009 12:19
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kel339
Status: Published
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1093/rheumatology/kel339
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7499

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