Using an internet intervention to support self-management of low back pain in primary care: findings from a randomised controlled feasibility trial (SupportBack).
OBJECTIVE: To determine the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial of an internet intervention for low back pain (LBP) using three arms: (1) usual care, (2) usual care plus an internet intervention or (3) usual care plus an internet intervention with additional physiotherapist telephone support. DESIGN AND SETTING: A three-armed randomised controlled feasibility trial conducted in 12 general practices in England. PARTICIPANTS: Primary care patients aged over 18 years, with current LBP, access to the internet and without indicators of serious spinal pathology or systemic illness. INTERVENTIONS: The 'SupportBack' internet intervention delivers a 6-week, tailored programme, focused on graded goal setting, self-monitoring and provision of tailored feedback to encourage physical activity. Additional physiotherapist telephone support consisted of three brief telephone calls over a 4-week period, to address any concerns and provide reassurance. OUTCOMES: The primary outcomes were the feasibility of the trial design including recruitment, adherence and retention at follow-up. Secondary descriptive and exploratory analyses were conducted on clinical outcomes including LBP-related disability at 3 months follow-up. RESULTS: Primary outcomes: 87 patients with LBP were recruited (target 60-90) over 6 months, and there were 3 withdrawals. Adherence to the intervention was higher in the physiotherapist-supported arm, compared with the stand-alone internet intervention. Trial physiotherapists adhered to the support protocol. Overall follow-up rate on key clinical outcomes at 3 months follow-up was 84%. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated the feasibility of a future definitive randomised controlled trial to determine the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the SupportBack intervention in primary care patients with LBP. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN31034004; Results.
Geraghty, AWA; Stanford, R; Stuart, B; Little, P; Roberts, LC; Foster, NE; Hill, JC; Hay, EM; Turner, D; Malakan, W; Leigh, L; Yardley, L
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