Talk Therapy May Treat Low Back Pain
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Beneficial, Cost-effective, U.K. Study Finds
WebMD News Archive
CBT for Low Back Pain continued...
The CBT sessions focused on participants’ thoughts and behaviors about back
pain and physical activity. By helping people identify negative beliefs, they
can change behaviors.
Information on back pain was collected three months after the patients
entered the study, and then again at six and 12 months.
After three months, the impact of the CBT intervention was comparable to
that reported for established low back
pain treatments like exercise, acupuncture, and manipulation, the
After 12 months, almost twice as many patients in the CBT group reported
having no back pain (59% vs. 31%). Sixty-five percent reported being satisfied
with their treatment, compared to 43% of patients who did not have the group
‘No One-Size-Fits-All Treatment’
The researchers conclude that group cognitive behavioral therapy should be
considered a useful and cost-effective treatment for chronic low back pain.
The study appears online in the Feb. 26 issue of the journal The
"There will never be a one-size-fits-all treatment for low-back pain,"
Hansen says. "Group cognitive behavioral therapy gives patients another
In an editorial accompanying the study, pain management specialist Laxmaiah
Manchikanti, MD, expressed skepticism about the ability to offer CBT for pain
management in the United States, no matter how effective the intervention
Manchikanti directs the Pain Management Center of Paducah in Paducah,
"A practical issue that remains is the availability of group cognitive
behavioral therapy on a routine basis for low-back pain in primary care, which
might be feasible in countries with national health-care systems, but not
in a country like the USA," he writes.
Hansen, who developed the CBT training program used in the U.K. study,
concedes that patients with chronic back pain in the U.S. who want to try group
cognitive therapy may have a hard time finding it.