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Activating therapy modalities in older individuals with chronic non-specific low back pain: a systematic review

Abstract

Background

Although there are many special exercise-based therapy approaches for the working population suffering chronic low back pain, similar programmes for older individuals are rare.

Objectives

To summarise all evaluated physical therapy approaches, and assess the effects on older people with chronic low back pain.

Data sources

Medline, CINAHL, Cochrane, Embase, PEDro, PsychINFO and Psyndex.

Study selection/eligibility

Age ≥ 65 years, subacute or chronic non-specific low back pain of ≥6 weeks’ duration, and a physical therapy approach.

Study appraisal and synthesis methods

Study selection, data extraction, and assessment of methodological quality and clinical relevance were performed independently by two reviewers. As there were only a few controlled trials and wide heterogeneity in observation periods and outcome measures, pooling of data was not feasible. Therefore, the results are presented descriptively.

Results

In total, nine studies were included; six related to mixed physiotherapy modalities, one related to strength training, and two related to endurance training. Low-quality evidence suggests that physical therapy modalities are associated with a small-to-moderate reduction in pain and a small improvement in function.

Limitations

The results must be interpreted with caution due to poor methodological quality.

Conclusion and implications of key findings

Few studies have been performed in this highly relevant and growing age group. It is not possible to recommend one particular modality or programme; as such, prescriptions should reflect patients’ preferences and local conditions. Further research of higher methodological quality is needed urgently.

Cite this article

Activating therapy modalities in older individuals with chronic non-specific low back pain: a systematic review.

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