JOURNAL ARTICLE

Use of an abbreviated neuroscience education approach in the treatment of chronic low back pain: a case report

Adriaan Louw, Emilio Louie Puentedura, Paul Mintken
Physiotherapy Theory and Practice 2012, 28 (1): 50-62
21721995
Chronic low back pain (CLBP) remains prevalent in society, and conservative treatment strategies appear to have little effect. It is proposed that patients with CLBP may have altered cognition and increased fear, which impacts their ability to move, perform exercise, and partake in activities of daily living. Neuroscience education (NE) aims to change a patient's cognition regarding their pain state, which may result in decreased fear, ultimately resulting in confrontation of pain barriers and a resumption of normal activities. A 64-year-old female with history of CLBP was the patient for this case report. A physical examination, the Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ), and Zung Depression Scale were assessed during her initial physical therapy visit, immediately after her first physical therapy session, and at 7-month follow-up. Treatment consisted of an abbreviated NE approach, exercises (range of motion, stretches, and cardiovascular), and aquatic therapy. She attended twice a week for 4 weeks, or 8 visits total. Pre-NE, the patient reported NPRS = 9/10; ODI = 54%; FABQ-W = 25/42,; FABQ-PA = 20/24, and Zung = 58. Immediately following the 75-minute evaluation and NE session, the patient reported improvement in all four outcome measures, most notably a reduction in the FABQ-W score to 2/42 and the FABQ-PA to 1/24. At a 7-month follow-up, all outcome measures continued to be improved. NE aimed at decreasing fear associated with movement may be a valuable adjunct to movement-based therapy, such as exercise, for patients with CLBP.

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