Content » Vol 36, Issue 1

Effects on sick-leave of a multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme for chronic low back, neck or shoulder pain: comparison with usual treatment

Sturla Storrø A1, Janne Moen A1, Sven Svebak A2
A1 Clinic of Physical Medicine 3T Trondheim Norway
A2 The Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim Norway

DOI: 10.1080/11026480310015521


Objective: To test the outcome of active multidisciplinary treatment in an outpatient setting upon sick-leave status among patients with neck, shoulder and low back pain. Design: Multidisciplinary treatment was administered to 121 patients (intervention group) over 4 weeks of structured intervention, followed by 8 weeks of less structured consultations. Effects of treatment were compared with usual treatment (control group: n = 97). Patients: All patients were in the chronic stage of pain (average sick-leave: 6 months) with different diagnoses: neck-shoulder pain, low back pain or low back pain with radiating extremity pain. Method: The intervention group programme included posture corrections, pain perception, skills to cope with pain, aerobic and fitness-promoting activities and relaxation techniques administered to groups of 8-10 patients. The Local National Insurance Office referred the patients who were diagnosed by general practitioners. A 12-month follow-up by the Local National Insurance Office provided feedback about sick-leave status of all 218 patients. Results: There was a significant treatment difference in proportion taken off the sick list after 12 months (intervention group: 78.5%; control group: 50.5%; p < 0.001). The difference was greater among low back pain (p < 0.001) than among neck-shoulder (p < 0.053) and low back pain with radiating extremity pain (p < 0.031) patients. Conclusion: Long-term effects of active multidisciplinary treatment were superior to treatment as usual in all diagnostic groups.

Lay Abstract


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