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Work. 2010;35(3):349-67. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2010-0995.

A systematic review of multidisciplinary outcomes in the management of chronic low back pain.

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School of Occupational Therapy, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada.



Previous research has provided an inconsistent message as to the effectiveness of multidisciplinary programs to improve employment outcomes in clients with Chronic Low Back Pain (CLBP). The primary aims of this review were to: 1) update the evidence for the multidisciplinary treatment of CLBP to improve employment outcomes 2) assess what knowledge supports occupational therapy as contributing to a multidisciplinary approach in the treatment of CLBP.


Working-age adults experiencing CLBP who took part in controlled trials evaluating multidisciplinary programs between July 1998 and July 2009.


Updated guidelines provided by the Cochrane Collaboration Back Review Group (BRG) were used to perform a systematic review to identify, appraise, and synthesize research evidence relevant to our research questions.


Twelve unique articles were found, after a database search and citation tracking, only two of which were high quality. Our findings suggest that there is still conflicting evidence for the effectiveness of multidisciplinary programs to improve employment outcomes in CLBP.


The results are discussed with reference to current methodological limitations found in the literature. Furthermore, occupational therapists were found to be underutilized in the included studies and future multidisciplinary programs should take advantage of the wide range of skills that occupational therapists can contribute in this practice area.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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