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Research Studies is a monthly compilation of research articles funded by AHRQ or authored by AHRQ researchers and recently published in journals or newsletters.
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Fritz JM, Lane E, McFadden M
Physical therapy referral from primary care for acute back pain with sciatica : a randomized controlled trial.
This study examined whether early physical therapy (EPT) use in sciatica patients of less than 90 days duration reduces disability compared to usual care (UC) alone. A cohort of 220 adult sciatica patients ages 18 to 60 at two healthcare systems in Salt Lake City, Utah were randomly assigned to the control or EPT. Half (110) were given EPT, 1 education session, and then referred to 4 weeks of physical therapy including exercise and manual therapy. The other 110 were provided usual care. Outcomes were measured using the Oswestry Disability Index (OSW) after 6 months. Secondary outcomes were pain intensity, patient-reported treatment success, health care use or missed workdays. The EPT group were more likely to self-report less back pain after 5 weeks as well as treatment success after 1 year than the UC care group. There were no significant differences in health care use or missed workdays with the 2 groups.
Citation: Fritz JM, Lane E, McFadden M . Physical therapy referral from primary care for acute back pain with sciatica : a randomized controlled trial. Ann Intern Med 2021 Jan;174(1):8-17. doi: 10.7326/m20-4187..
Keywords: Back Health and Pain, Neurological Disorders, Pain, Rehabilitation, Primary Care, Outcomes, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, Comparative Effectiveness, Evidence-Based Practice