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The purpose of this longitudinal prospective study was to assess the clinical benefits of a newly established functional restoration programme for patients with chronic low back pain. The overall aim of the programme was to improve function and encourage patients to take a more active role in their own management. One hundred and twenty-nine patients with chronic low back pain attended an outpatient functional restoration programme between February 1994 and March 1997. They were assessed using a battery of functional and psychological outcome measures before treatment, immediately after treatment, and at 7, 15, 27 and 55 weeks after inclusion. There was a high prevalence of psychological distress prior to treatment. At 55 weeks after treatment, effect size scores for measures of disability, psychological distress and depression were small to moderate (Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability index 0.23, General Health Questionnaire 0.46, Zung depression 0.47, pain self-efficacy 0.6); and scores for walking distance were large (1.2). To date, the effectiveness of functional restoration programmes has not been properly assessed in the. United Kingdom, and although the results of this study seem positive enough to justify the programme, randomised controlled trials are necessary to assess clinical and cost effectiveness.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





285 - 293