Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Complement Ther Med. 2011 Feb;19(1):54-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2010.11.003. Epub 2010 Dec 4.

How to treat a patient with chronic low back pain - methodology and results of the first international case conference of integrative medicine.

Author information

  • 1Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charit√© - University Medical Center Berlin, Luisenstr. 57, 10098 Berlin, Germany.



Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is frequently used in patients in industrialised countries. Despite this popularity, there remains a considerable deficit of discourse and cooperation between physicians practicing CAM and conventional medicine. The aim is to present the methodology and results of the first international case conference on integrative medicine (IM) dealing with a patient with low back pain. In this paper the methodological tool "case conference on IM" is also described.


The interactive case conference took place on November 20th, 2009 as part of the "2nd European Congress of IM" in Berlin, Germany. An experienced expert panel from both conventional medicine and CAM developed integrative medical diagnoses and therapeutic strategies using as their starting point an individual patient case on chronic low back pain (LBP). The case was selected because LBP is a common diagnosis with considerable economic impact and a problem which is often treated with CAM.


In this case conference, the expert panel agreed on a diagnosis of "chronic non-specific LBP with somatic and psychological factors" and proposed multi-modal short- and long-term treatment including of CAM. The importance of the patient-physician-relationship and the consultation process with appropriate consultation time for treatment success was highlighted. There was consensus that the diagnostic process and resulting treatment plan should be individualised and focussed on the patient as a complete person, identifying the significance the disease has for the patient and not just on the disease for itself. Considerable differences were found amongst the experts regarding the first steps of treatment and each expert saw possibilities of "effective and adequate treatment" being met by their own individual treatment method.


The case conference on integrative medicine stimulated an intensive exchange between the approaches used by conventional medicine and CAM clarifying different treatment possibilities for low back pain. Therefore, case conferences on integrative medicine could serve as a model for evaluating similar activities in academic hospitals and establishing such approaches in routine medical care. This strategy has the potential to improve patient centred care.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center