Embargoed materials for Complementary & Integrative Medicine Conference

eld in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, May 24th-27th, 2006.

The investigators randomized adults with sub-acute low back pain in a 1:2 ratio to usual care or usual care plus treatment by the integrative care team at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, a teaching hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School. In the study, a multidisciplinary team consisted of individuals with expertise in acupuncture, chiropractic, internal medicine, massage therapy, neurology, nursing, nutritional counseling, occupational therapy, orthopedics, psychiatry/mind-body, physical therapy and rheumatology.

Initial patient evaluations were done by two members of the team, one physician and one complementary/alternative medicine clinician, and individualized treatment plans were developed. Treatment was provided for up to 12 weeks and was modified based on progress and input by the team. The investigators assessed differences in pain scores (on a 0-10 scale) and functional status (on a 0-23 scale) at the start of the trial and at 2, 5, and 12 weeks after randomization

To date, 19 patients have been randomized, 13 to integrative care and 6 to usual care. Over the 12 weeks, participants in the integrative care group had an average of 12.2 visits and experienced significantly greater reduction in pain scores (0.37 per week compared with 0.14 per week for those in the usual care group) and functional status (1.11 per week compared with 0.49 per week for those in the usual care group).

"It was feasible for a multidisciplinary integrative care team to deliver a coordinated, integrative care intervention to patients with sub-acute low back pain," the authors concluded. They added that initial results show a promising trend for benefit of treating patients with persistent low back pain and should be further evaluated.

The integrative model in this study could have benefits for companies in reducing disability setbacks. "You can imagine if you could get more peo


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