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Mil Med. 2012 Sep;177(9):1075-80.

Implementation of a multidisciplinary program for active duty personnel seeking care for low back pain in a U.S. Navy Medical Center: a feasibility study.

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  • 1Occupational and Industrial Orthopedic Center (OIOC), NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York University Langone Medical Center, 63 Downing Street, New York, NY 10014, USA.


The aim of the pilot study was to evaluate a multidisciplinary program for nonspecific low back pain (NSLBP) at a major U.S. Navy base. In this single blinded randomized clinical trial, subjects were drawn from a larger, prospective cohort of active duty service members seeking care for NSLBP pain at a U.S. Navy Branch Medical Clinic. Outcome measures included return to work, self-reported pain, function, and psychological distress. Subjects were randomly allocated to one of two study arms: a multidisciplinary reconditioning program or the current standard of care for low back pain. The intervention lasted 4 weeks with a 12-week follow-up. Thirty-three subjects were enrolled. Subjects allocated to multidisciplinary care reported significantly lower perceived disability (p = 0.014) and less pain than those allocated to usual care at the end of the intervention period. All subjects returned to their usual duty following the conclusion of the intervention. The implementation of the intervention program was successful. Subjects in the multidisciplinary program showed a clinically significant improvement in the perception of disability compared to the usual care group. This is an important finding since perception of disability is associated with long-term functional outcome.

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