I'm seeing a physical therapist for another bout of low back pain. I see in the clinic there are groups of patients exercising together who also have back pain. Once I'm done with PT do I progress to the group?
Each program or clinic approaches chronic back pain a little differently. Some treatment is based on the type of problem you have. In the beginning you may need one-on-one care. Group treatment may be used for chronic low back pain. People in this group have often had pain for months or even years.
Studies show that chronic low back pain can be helped with an intense team approach. Members of the team may include a chiropractor, physical therapist, acupuncturist, and massage therapist. Some centers also include behavioral psychologists, occupational therapists, nutritionist, and others.
Many hours of teaching, exercising, and practicing methods taught by the team members to groups of patients pay off with less pain, better function, and more positive outlook.
A recent study from Finland compared group therapy to individual treatment. All the patients had back pain a year or more. Everyone got better. Group therapy wasn't better than individual therapy and vice versa.
The research focus is now on trying to find out if some back pain patients get better with one type of treatment over another. If we had ways to predict who will respond best to each treatment we could get patients started sooner with what works for them.
Eeva Helena Kääpä, MD, PhD, et al. Multidisciplinary Group Rehabilitation Versus Individual Physiotherapy for Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain. In Spine. February 15, 2006. Vol. 31. No. 4. Pp. 371-376.
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