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Kuukkanen T, Mälkiä E, Kautiainen H, Pohjolainen T. Effectiveness of a home exercise programme in low back pain: a randomized five-year follow-up study. Physiotherapy Research International. 2007; Volume 12, Issue 4 , Pages 213 - 224


Effectiveness of a home exercise programme in low back pain: a randomized five-year follow-up study
Tiina Kuukkanen 1 *, Esko Mälkiä 2, Hannu Kautiainen 3, Timo Pohjolainen 4
1School of Health and Social Studies, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, Jyväskylä, Finland
2Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
3Rheumatism Foundation Hospital, Heinola, Finland
4Rehabilitation Unit of ORTON, Invalid Foundation, Helsinki, Finland
email: Tiina Kuukkanen (tiina.kuukkanen@jamk.fi)

*Correspondence to Tiina Kuukkanen, School of Health and Social Studies, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, Keskussairaalantie 21, FI-40620 Jyväskylä

Background and Purpose.  Therapeutic exercise has been shown to be beneficial in decreasing pain and in increasing functioning in patients with chronic low back pain. However, longitudinal follow-up studies are small in number, and often limited in the numbers of subjects due to drop-outs. In addition there is a shortage of real control groups in most cases. The purpose of the present study was to describe long-term changes in intensity of low back pain and in functioning for two study groups five years after undertaking a home exercise programme. Method.  This was a randomized follow-up study over five years. Fifty-seven subjects were reassessed with questionnaires five years after their initial recruitment for an intervention study. A home exercise group (n = 29), with training once a day, and a control group (n = 28), without exercise, were included in the present study protocol. The primary outcome measurements included a questionnaire on the intensity of low back pain (Borg CR-10 scale) and on functioning (Oswestry Disability Index; ODI). The confounding physical activity was controlled with metabolic unit (MET) values. Results.  The CR-10 and ODI scores decreased during the first three months in both study groups. During the follow-ups, the corresponding indicators of the home exercise group remained below baseline values. The CR-10 score was significantly lower in the home exercise group (p = 0.01) during the last five-year follow-up session compared with the control group. Overall physical activity decreased slightly during the five-year follow-up, but there were no differences between the two study groups. Conclusions.  The present randomized study indicates that supervised, controlled home exercises lead to reduced low back pain, and that positive effects were preserved over five years. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Received: May 2006; Accepted: June 2007


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